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■ I 








A Snpple7nentary Volume to " The Lives of the Saints^' con- 
Gaining a list and history of the various Calendars, Marty rolo- 
giesy &^€.y with coinplete Indices to the whole work. 

John Hodges, King William Street, Charing Cross, W.C. 






'*The Origin and Development of Religious Beliefy^ ^* Post-Mediaval 
Preachers" ** Curious Myths of the Middle Ages^^^ ^c, d^c. 


King William St., Charing Cross, London. 


Htinh Campul 

• 62. r" 



vol.. XII. 



S.Abra, K 170 

„ AdalsendiSj V, 280 

„ Adeia, V, 274 

„ Adeihatd, Empss,, 161 

„ Ado J B, ofVienne,, 199 

„ Alexander^ M. 156 

„ AlgeriCy B. of Ver- 
dun 2 

„ Ambrose, B.D, ... 74 
SS. Ammonartum, KAf., 

and Others /mm, 156 
„ Ammon, Zeno, and 

Others, MM, ... 224 

S, Anastasia, M. 278 

„ Anastasius IL^ 

B.M. of Antioch 234 
„ Anno, Abf. of Co- 
logne 29 

„ Anthia, V.M, 157 

„ Anysta, F.M, 406 

„ Anysius, B, of 

Thessalonica 407 

,; Asella, K 68 

„ Attala, V. Abss. ... 20 
„ Autbert,B. of Cam- 
brat 171 



S, Barbara, V.M. ... 25 
„ Bean, B. of Mort- 

lach 203 

„Beggha,W. 207 

„ Bertoara,V, 161 

„ Bibiana, V.M, 10 

„ Birinus,B, of Dor- 
chester 17 

„ Bodagisl, C. 220 

„ Budoc, B. of 

Dol 118 

„ BurguTidofara, ^105 

S, Chceremon, B,M.„ 235 

„ Christiana, V, 189 

„ Clement of Alexan- 
dria, P.D 23 

„ Columba, V.M, ... 411 

,, Convoyon, Ab 314 

„ Corentin, B, of 

Quimper 157 

„ Crescens, B, 323 

„ Crispina, M, 50 




*$". Damasus, Pope ... 137 
„ Daniel the Sty lite, 

If. 142 

„ Deiniol, B, of Ban- 
gor 128 

„ Delphinus, B, of 

Bordeaux 271 

SS. Dionysia, Majori- 
cus, and Others, 

MM, 69 

S, Dionysia, M, 157 

„ Dionysius, Pope,,, 299 


S, Ebrulfus^ Ab 324 

„ Eligius,B.ofNoyon 2 
SS, Epimachius and 

Alexander, MM, 156 

S,Ernan,Mk, 237 

„ Eugraphius, M.„, 125 
SS, Eulalia and Julia, 

VV.MM. 124 

S, Eusebius,B, of Ver- 

celli 191 

„ Eutychianus, Pope no 
The Expectation of the 
Confinement of 
our Lady 218 


S,Fara, F. 105 

„ Finnian, B, ofClo- 

nard 159 

„ Flannan, B, of 

Killaloe 221 

„ Flavian, M, 236 

„ Florentia, V, i 


S. Fulk, B, of Tou- 
louse 291 

„ Fulquinus, B, of 
Therouanne 187 

„ Fuscianus, M, 136 


S, Gatian,B, of Tours 219 

„ Gentianus, M,„„, 136 

„ Gertrude, IV, Abss. 70 

„ Gorgonia,Matr,,„ 117 
„ Gregory of Spoleto, 

M, 270 

S, Hermogenes, M,„, 125 


S, Ildefonsus, B, of 

Toledo 306 

The Immaculate Con- 
ception of the 

B, V.Mary 108 

S. Ingenius, M, 224 

The Holy Innocents, 

MM. 311 

SS, Irmina and Adela, 

VV, 274 

S,Ischyrion, M, 235 

„ Ivo, B, of Char- 
tres 241 

S, Jarlath, B, of 

Tuam 305 

„ Jeanne Fran foisede 
ChantaJ, W. ... 176 




S,John the Divine, 

^P 307 

„/udoc,F,ff, 173 

,y Julia, KM, 124 


S. Lazarus, B,M. .., 204 
„ Leocadia, V.M, ... 115 

„ Zevan,B.C, 273 

„ Liberius /., B. of 

Ravenna 404 

„ Lucius, K, 13 

„ Lucy, V.M, 168 


S, Macarius, M, 109 

„ Majoricus, M. ... 69 
B, Margaret Colonna, 

V, 409 

S, Marinus, M, 3 oo 

„ Marius, B, of 

Avenches , 425 

SS, Martyrs at Nico- 

media 277 

S. Maxi?ninus, Ab, of 

Miscy 198 

,, Mazota, V, 240 

„ Melania the Younger ^\ 7 
, , Melchiades, Pope, „ 126 

„ Meletius, B, 28 

■ SS, Menas, Hermo- 
genes, and Eu^ 
graphius, MM,, 125 

S, Mercuria, M, 157 

„ Moyses, M, 219 



Nativity of our Lord,., 276 

S, Nemesion, M, 223 

SS, Nicasius, B,M,, 
and Eutropia, 

V,M, 185 

S. Nicetius, B, of 

Treves 61 

„ Nicolas, B, of My ra 64 

S. Odilia, V, 174 

„ Olympias,W, 206 

„ Osmund, B, of 
Salisbury 48 


S. Peter Chrysologus, 


„ Peter Pctscha2,B,M: 71 
B, Peter the Venerable, 

Ab 280 

S. Philogonius, B, of 
Antioch 225 

„ Ptolemy, M. 224 


S, Romaric, Ab no 

SS, Rufus and Zosi- 

mus, MM, 219 


S, Sabas, Ab 53 

SS. Sabinus, B,M,,and 

Others, MM, ... 405 




S, Servulus, C, ...... 239 

„ SoluSt H, 20 

„ SpiridioH, B,C. ... 180 

„ Stephen^ D,M, 296 

„ Sturmi, Ah 208 

„ Sylvester, Pope 412 

S. Tarsilla, V. 272 

„ Theophtius, M, ... ^24 
„ Thomas h Beckef, 

Abp, M, 325 

,, Thomas, Ap,M„,, 226 
„ ThorIaCyJB,ofSkal' 

holt 262 

The Translation of the 
Holy House to 

Loreto 129 

S> TrophimuSy B 321 

„ Trumwin,B,ofthe 
Bids ..;.... 12 



S. Valerian, B, 197 

„ Venantius Fortu- 
natus, B 186 

„ Victoria, V,M, ... 238 
SS* Victoricus, Fuscia- 
nus, and Gentia- 
nus,MM, 136 

„ Virgins, MM, 199 

*S. William Long- 
sword, Duke, M. 212 


S. Yvo or Ivo, B, of 
Chartres 241 


*S. Zeno, M. 224 

„ Zosimus, Pope 301 

„ Zosimus, M. 219 

Lives of the Saints. 

December i. 

S. Castrfcianus, B. of Milan; a.d. 136. 

SS. DiODORUS, P.M.f and Marianus, D.M. at Rome; circ. a.d. 

S. Ansanus, M. at Siena ; circ. a.d. 303. 
.S. Olympias, AI. at Emilia in Umbria; circ: A.n. 304. 
S. Natalia, JV. at Bysantium (see Sept. 8); circ. a.d. 305. 
S. Florentia, v. at CombU in Poitou ; a.d. 367. 
S. Algkric, B. 0/ Verdun; a.d. 588. 
S. Eligius, B. o/Noyon; a.d. 659. 




(a.d. 367.) 

[Gallican Martyrologies. Authority: — Lessons in the Poitiers Bre- 
viary; historically worthless.] 

HE legend told of this saint is that when, in 359, 
S. Hilary in exile traversed Isauria on his way to 
attend a council at Seleucia, as he entered the 
church of a little village, a young girl precipitated 
herself at his feet, and conjured him to regenerate her and 
associate her with him in his ministry. He had her baptized, 
and when he returned to Aries, she followed him. He found 
it convenient to put her under restraint, and he confided the 
impetuous enthusiast to S. Triasia, who was living as a 
solitary at Combl^, near his estate at Celle-rEv^cout. Her 
prayers, fasting, and vigils, exhausted her frame, and she died 
before the prelate, on December i, 367. The relics were 
translated from Combl^ to Poitiers in the nth century, 



2 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. x. 

they were nearly all scattered by the Huguenots, who pillaged 
the churches of Poitiers in 1562, but some have been pre- 
served, and are now in the cathedral of Poitiers. 

(a.d. 588.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Authorities :— Greg. Turon. 
Hist. Franc, lib. ix. c. 10, 12, 13, and a distich of Venantius Fortu- 

S. Algeric or Ageric, vulgarly called S. Airy, was born 
at Harville, in the diocese of Verdun, of a humble family. 
Thierry, king of Austrasia, acted as his godfather. He was 
sent to Verdun at the age of seven to study for the Church. 
He was only thirty-three when made bishop of Verdun, in 
the room of Desiderius, who died in 554. His simplicity, 
virtue, and charity, are praised by Venantius Fortunatus, who 
visited him at Verdun on his way home from Rome. He 
baptized Childebert, son of Sigebert of Austrasia. Bertfried, 
who revblted against Childebert, took refuge in the chapel 
of S. Algeric at the feet of the saint ; the emissaries of the 
king pursued him, and in disregard of the remonstrances 
of the saint, killed Bertfried in the sanctuary. 

(A.D. 659.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies, Usuardus, &c. Authorities : — A 
Life bylDado (S. Ouen) bishop of Rouen, d. 683; in Ghasqui^re, A A. 
SS. Belgii, iii. p. 198; and Dachery, Spicil. v. p. 156; in Surius 
altered and^curtailed.] 

Eligius was bom at Chatelat near Limoges. His father's 
name was Eucherius, his mother's Terrigia. He was placed 

Dec. I.] " S.Eligius. . 3 

early with a goldsmith of Limoges, named Abbo, master of 
the mint there, and with him Eligius acquired great skill in 
the work of the precious metals, and, perhaps, also in that 
enamel work which afterwards made Limoges famous. He 
went next to Paris, and was placed with Bobbo, treasurer of 
Clothair II. The king wanted a seat, or throne, made of 
precious metal, and as he could find no one else capable of 
undertaking the task, he confided it to Eligius, giving him at 
the same time the metal necessary for making the throne. 
Eligius found that he had enough to make two seats. When 
they were done he gave one to the king, who admired it, 
and ordered payment to be made to the skilful workman. 
Then Eligius produced the second throne.^ The king was 
so struck with his honesty, that he immediately advanced 
him to be master of the mint, and gave him his entire con- 
fidence. The king, anxious to secure Eligius to him more 
securely, brought him before some relics and bade him place 
his hand on them, and swear to him devout allegiance. The 
goldsmith hesitated : he was uncertain how far he could serve 
his master with a good conscience. Clothair, instead of 
being offended at this hesitation, respected it, and said he 
had rather have the word of Eligius than the oath of another 

S. Ouen was then at the court of Dagobert ; he was a young 
noble, a few years the junior of Eligius, Ouen and Eligius 
became mutually attached, and confided to each other their 
desires and troubles. Ehgius hung little packets of relics from 
nails in the ceiling all round his bedroom. After having made 
his general confession, and imposed on himself a penance, 
he was very desirous of knowing if he were really pardoned, 
and his penance accepted. One of the little hanging packets 

* " Volebat rex sellam urbane auro gemmisque fabricare— et sellam auream regiae 
dignitati congruam.*' Mediaeval artists rendered this a saddle, and made of Eligius 
a farrier. Almoin speaks of Dagobert using a golden throne, no doubt that fashioned 
by Eligius. 

4 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. i, 

began to emit a peculiar odour, and drip with some oily 
matter, and Eligius accepted this as an omen that he was 
absolved in heaven. 

The affection borne by Clothair II. to Eligius passed to the 
king's son Dagobert, and this king honoured his master of the 
mint with his special confidence. He even chose him as his 
ambassador to the prince of Brittany, apparently Judicael, 
who had assumed the royal title, and attacked and defeated 
the Frank soldiers in the plains of Le Mans. Judicael was 
the father of S. Winoc and S. Judoc, and is also honoured 
among the saints. Dagobert found the Breton prince a 
dangerous neighbour, and the commission he gave to Eligius 
was a delicate one — to enforce on the prince the danger of 
provoking the powerful Frank monarch, and to establish 
peace without having recourse to arms. Judicael, according 
to Fredegar, came to Clichy and did homage to Dagobert. 

Eligius returned to Paris, and occupied himself in hammer- 
• ing out gold and jewel-encrusted vessels for his master. As 
master of the mint he struck coins, some of these remain, 
bearing his name.^ His friend S. Ouen gives the following 
description of his appearance : — " He was tall, with a ruddy 
face, his hair and beard were naturally curly ; his hands well- 
made and his fingers long, his face was fiiU of angelic sweet- 
ness, and his expression was one of prudence and simplicity. 
At first he wore habits covered with gold and precious stones, 
he had also belts sewn with pearls. His dress was of linen 
encrusted with gold, and the edges of his tunic trimmed with 
gold embroidery; indeed, his clothing was very costly, and 

* (i) A gold \ sou with the head of Dagobert on one side and the legend ** Parisina 
ceve fit" (Parisina civitate fecit), on the other a cross and the l^end ''Dagobertus 
rex." Under the arms of the cross "Eligi." (2) Another gold | sou, with similar 
head and cross, and the legends ''Parisiis fit" and ''Eligius mone" (monetarius). 
(3) Another coin of same value, with legend ** Mon palati " (moneta palatina) and 
** Scolare T. A." Under the arms of the cross " Eligi." (4) Another of same value, 
with legend " Parisi civ. . . .", " Dagobertus rex," and " Eligi fit." (5) One struck 
in 637 or 638 for Clovis II. 

Dec ..] •^- Eligius. 5 

1 1 .. . 

some of his dresses were of silk. Such was his exterior in 
his first period at court, and he dressed thus to avoid singu- 
larity; but under these rich garments he wore a rough sack- 
cloth, and later on, he disposed of all his ornaments to relieve 
the distressed, and he might be seen with only a cord round 
his waist, and common clothes. Sometimes the king, seeing 
him thus divested of his rich clothing, would take off his own 
cloak and girdle, and give them to him, saying, ' It is not 
suitable that those who live for the world should be richly 
clad, and that those who despoil themselves for Christ should 
be without glory.' " 

Dagobert was ready to grant him any favour he liked to 
ask in reason. Eligius requested the king to grant him the 
estate of Solignac in Limousin, on which to found a monasr 
tery. The situation was delightful, a river swept: round the 
tongue of land on which the abbey was to rise, hills and 
woods surrounded it, and the rocky descent to the river was 
rich in spring with golden broom and purple lungwort, and 
in autumn with crimson wild vine, yellow maples, and brown 
beech. The abbey when completed by Eligius was filled by 
a swarm of monks, the numbers grew to a hundred and fifty, 
and when S. Ouen lodged there he found that it was unsur- 
passed by any monastery in France in its regular observance 
of discipline. He gave up his own house in Paris to S. 
Aurea, to become a convent for religious women under her 
guidance. His strict integrity appeared in the foundation of 
this religious house, as in the making of a throne. He had 
asked of the king a grant of the land on which the house 
stood, and had been accorded it. He had represented it as 
occupying so many yards of ground. But when outbuildings 
were cleared away, and the land was remeasured, it was 
found that his estimate was wrong by a yard or two, and that 
there was more ground than he had represented. He at 
once stopped the works, and refused to allow them to be 

6 Lives of the Sdints. [d^c. r. 

proceeded with till he had stated the fact to the king, and ob- 
tained his consent to the appropriation, of the additional few 
yards. After this he rebuilt the dilapidated church of S. Mar- 
tial. Not long after Paris was in flames, and the conflagration 
neared the new church. Sparks and smoke were carried over 
the roof, and at every moment it was thought S. MartiaFs 
church would burst into flame. Then EHgius cried out: 
" Martial ! Martial ! look well after thy church, for if thou 
dost not protect it, thou must be assured that EHgius wiH 
not take the trouble to rebuild it for thee." The saint took 
the hint, and saved the church from destruction. 

He continued to work at the precious metals, and made 
shrines for a great many relics, the most famous ones were 
those for S. Martin and S. Brice. The marble tomb of S. 
Denys he covered with gold and jewels, he encased the ends 
of the altar in gold, with gold apples set with jewels, pro- 
bably pomegranates, with crimson rubies for the seed bursting 
through the golden pods. 

On the death of Acharius, bishop of Noyon, Eligius was 
elected to succeed him. He and his friend S. Ouen were 
consecrated the same day. May 14, Rogation Sunday, 640, 
he to the see of Noyon, including that of Toumai, with 
jurisdiction over Ghent and Courtrai, and Ouen to the 
bishopric of Rouen.^ 

As a bishop, Eligius was as conscientious as he had 
proved himself when a layman. He laboured indefatigably 
at the conversion of the half-Christian, half heathen 
Flemings, and at making his clergy lights to the world. .8. 
Ouen has preserved to us a most precious sermon of Eligius, 
which throws much light on the superstitious practices then 
in vogue among the people. He warns his people not to 
regard sneezing as ominous, except, of course, of the coming 

^ " Consecrati sumiis gratis ab episcopis pariter episcopi ego Rodamo (i-ttr), iU^ 

Dec. I.] S. Eligius. 7 

on of a heavy cold in the head, nor to pay superstitious 
regard to the songs of birds, nor to the days on which they 
leave home — such as the first day of the new moon, or the 
eclipses ; he forbids the observance of the first of January 
with feasting, dancing, and profane ceremonies, or the 
festival of S. John the Baptist, and the solstices, with capers, 
"carols," and diabolical songs. ^ The observance of the 
month of May he specially condemns ; as also the festivals of 
moths and mice.^ The lighting of torches along the side of 
a road — not apparently for the sake of giving light, but for 
some superstitious reason— was to be avoided. He reprobates 
the custom of priests writing passages of Scripture on scraps 
of paper to be hung round the neck as charms.^ Such 
charms, says S. Eligius, very sensibly, are not a Christian 
remedy, but devil's poison. The passmg of cattle through a 
hole made in the earth, or through a hole in a tree, is also to 
be renounced ; women must not wear amber round their 
necks, or in their zones, with invocation of Minerva. Only 
fools think, says Eligius, that madmen are affected by the 
changes of the moon. Quack doctors and witches are not 
to be resorted to in cases of sickness, but the efficacy of 
holy unction is to be tried, and that will prove of avail in 
recovering the sick of his malady. Fountains are not to be 
held sacred, trees which receive veneration are to be cut 
down, and whoever finds little representations of feet hung 
up in cross roads is to fling them away."* The sermon goes 

* " Nullus in festivitate S. Joannis .... solstitia, aut vallationes, vel saltationes, 
aut caraulus aut cantica diabolica exerceat.'* 

' " Dies tinearum vel murum." 

* An Irishman came to me one day in Yprkshire, and asked me for a " Gospel/' i.g.y 
for a text to be written on a scrap of paper to hang round his child's neck, *' as a 
preservative against measles and looseness of the bowels.'* These charms are com- 
monly sought by the Irish of their priests^ and are sewn up in little bags. They pay 
a fee for them. 

* " Pedum similitudines> quos per bivia ponunt, fieri vetate, et, ubi inveneritis, igni 
cremate." The Council of Auxcrre (589) forbade (art 3) " ntz sculptilia aut pede aut 
homine lineo fieri praesumat." 

8 Lives of the Saints. pcc. i. 

on to give very wholesome moral advice, which, however, 
contains little that is peculiar.^ 

S. Eligius found most paganism hanging about the neigh- 
bourhood of Antwerp,* and he is said to have converted 
many Suevi. One would hardly have expected to find Swa- 
bians so far north as his diocese. 

But if Eligius pursued the conversion of heathen and the 
perfecting of professed Christians as a duty, he prosecuted 
the discovery of the bones of martyrs with the zest of 
pleasure. Noyon flattered itself that it was the scene of 
the martyrdom of S. Quentin. If Quenlin had died there, 
he must have been buried there. If buried there, he might 
be found, Eligius determined to discover the bones. Several 
persons represented to him that if buried, Quentin must 
have dissolved to dust long ago. But Eligius was above con- 
viction by such arguments as these. He vowed.not to eat a 
morsel till he had found a body which would, at all events; 
pass for that of S. Quentin. He turned up the earth of the 
church floor. The sacred precincts resembled a mine. 
Workmen grubbed here, and grubbed there, in all the most 
likely places, but found nothing. Eligius had passed three 
days without food, when at last, in the most unlikely place 
for a martyr's body to be laid, in the ditch of the church, 
the labourers came on a tomb of stones, and within it were 
bones and nails. The enthusiasm of Eligius passed into the 
wildest transports of exultation, when, on pulling the teeth 

* Except, perhaps, this : "Qui ante legitimas nuptias habere concubinam praesumit, 
pejus peccat quam qui adulterium committit." 

3 In heathen times phallic worship prevailed in the neighbourhood of Antwerp. 
A phallus was sculptured over one of the city gates ; this has been obliterated only 
in recent times. Christianity so far sanctioned this heathen superstition as to make 
the "sacrosanctum prseputium'* the palladium of Antwerp. In like manner in Elsass 
in heathen times the club of Hercules received sacred worship. When Elsass was 
Christianized this was converted into the staff of S. Peter given to S. Matemus. Frag- 
ments still receive veneration. The " sacrosanctum praepudum " has been made to 
disappear ; it has not, at all events, been presented to the adoration of the faithful 
since the riots of 1566. 

Dec. I.] ^- Eligius. 9 

■ I '■■■|---»IMMIII ■ ■ ■ ■l__H __» 

out of the jaw for distribution to other churches, a drop of 
some slimy matter that looked like blood exhibited itself at 
the root of one of the fangs. The nails found in the vault 
had probably belonged to a wooden coffin, but their presence 
served to convince Eligius that he had the genuine body of 
the martyr, who, according to legend, was put to death by 
means of nails driven into his head.^ After this discovery 
Eligius set to work to unearth other saints, and was so 
happy as to discover also S. Piatus, also with nails. He 
made gold shrines for all these relics, and also for the bodies 
of SS. Crispin and Crispinian, which he exhumed at Soissons. 
At Beauvais he discovered miraculously the body of S. 
Lucian, the companion of S. Quentin, and he made a shrine 
for him also. 

He attended the council of Chalons-sur-Saone in 644 or 
650 — the date cannot be fixed with certainty ; and it was 
on his return from this council that he took charge of S. 
Godeberta, as is related in the life of that saint (April 1 1). 

S. Eligius died in 659, on December i, in the piidst of 
his faithful servants, beloved by his flock. 

The relics of S. Eligius are still in the cathedral of Noyon. 
His head is in the parish church of S. Andr^ at Chelles. 
Other relics, teeth, bits of bone, &c., at S. Barthdlemy, 
Noyon, the cathedral at Bruges, S. Martin at Toumai, S. 
Pierre at Douai. In the cathedral at Paris an arm. 

In art he is represented erroneously as a farrier, with a 
horse's leg in his hand ; the story going that as he was one 
day shoeing a horse, the animal proved restive, so he took 
the leg off, shod it, and put it on again, without evil conse- 

' It is, however, quite possible that this discovery of nails in the vault containing 
the supposed relics may have originated the fable of the martyrdom by means of 

lo Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 2. 

D.ecember 2. 


Rome; a.d. 256. 
SS. Severus, Securus, Januarius, and Victorinus, mm. in 

Africa; circ. a.d. 300. 
S. Bibiaka, V.M, at Rome; a.d. '363. 
S. Chromatius, B. of Aquileja; circ. a.d. 409. 
S. Peter Chrysologus, B. of Ravenna ; a.d. 449. 
S. NoNNUS, B, of Edessa; circ. a.d. 468 {see S. Pelagia, Oct. 8). 
S. Luperius, B. of Verona; tthcent. 
S. Trumwin, B, of the Picts; a.d. 686. 
B. John de Ruysbroeck, Vauveri, near Brussels ; a.d, 1381. 

(A.D. 363.) . 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, Ado, Notker, &c. Authority: — 
The Acts, which are wholly untrustworthy.] 

. BIBIANA was the daughter of Flavian, prefect 
of Rome, and his wife Dafrosa. Her sister's 
name was Demetria. In the reign of Julian the 
apostate Apronius was appointed governor of 
Rome, and he began to persecute the Church — not in fact, 
but in the fabulous acts. As a matter of fact there was no 
persecution in the reign of Julian, though some Christians 
did suffer in the army under other accusations. Bibiana 
was, of course, not in the army, and it is most improbable 
that any virgin suffered for her faith in the reign of Julian. 
However, the story goes on to say that Apronius arrested and 
executed her father, Flavian, and he receives commemora- 
tion on December 22. Dafrosa was next decapitated, and 
is venerated on January 4. Demetria, when brought before 
the governor, died of excitement, and Bibiana, after having 

Dec. 2.3 S. Peter Ckrysologus. 1 1 

been in vain solicited to evil by an old woman to whom she 
was confided, was tied to a pillar and scourged to death. 

Either there had been such a martyr in an earlier persecu- 
tion, which is probable, or the romance which passes as 
her acts had acquired sufficient credence to impose on a pope 
a century later. For it would appear that Pope Simplicius 
built a church over her remains, near the Licinian palace. 
Pope Urban VIII. discovered the bodies of Bibiana, Demetria, 
and Dafrosa, and placed them in a porphyry shrine under 
the high altar. The office for S. Bibiana is a semi-double in 
the Roman Brieviary. The pillar at which she was scourged 
to death is shown at Rome in the church bearing her name. 

(a.d. 449.) 

[Roman Martyrology, Dec. 2 and 4. Authorities : — Mention in Life 
of S. Germanus of Auxerre, his Epistle to Eutyches, &c.] 

S. Peter Chrysologus was a native of Imola. He was 
ordained deacon by his bishop, Cornelius. On the death of 
John I., bishop of Ravenna, Peter was elected by the clergy 
and people as his successor. 

S. Germanus of Auxerre died at Ravenna, and was buried 
by S. Peter, who inherited as an inestimable treasure his old 
rough sackcloth. Eutyches wrote to the archbishop to 
complain of his condemnation by Flavian, and Peter sent 
him a letter in reply which is still preserved. Seventy-six of 
his sermons are also extant. If they obtained for him his 
title of "Golden Speaker," the average powers of preaching 
at the period must have been very leaden. The chapel in 
which he was accustomed to officiate is still standing, 
adorned with contemporary mosaics, in the archiepiscopal 
palace at Ravenna. 

1 2 Lives of the Saints. ^^ , 


(a.d. 686.) 

[The Scottish Menology of Dempster. Authority: — Mention by 
Bede, H. E. 1. iv. c I2, 26, 28.] 

Trumwin, a monk of Whitby, was ordained bishop in 
681, and sent among the Picts, who were then subject to 
the Angles. After the battle of Nectanesmere, in which 
Ecgfrid, king of Northumbria, who had invaded their pro- 
vince, was defeated and slain, the Picts recovered their 
territory, and Trumwin retired from the monastery of Aber- 
com, where he had resided, to Whitby, along with a few 
companions. He died there, and was buried in S. Peter's 
Church. He was one of the religious who accompanied 
King Ecgfrid to Lindisfarne to persuade S. Cuthbert to 
accept the episcopate. 


Bee. 3.3 

S. Lucius. 13 

December 3. 

S. Lucius, K. at Coire in the Grisons, 

SS. Claudius, Hilaria, Jason, and Maurus, MM. at Ro»ne; 
circ. A.D. 257. 

S. Merocles, B. of Milan; a.d. 315. 

S. Cassian, M. at Tangiers; a.d. 398.- 

S. Birinus, B. 0/ Dorchester ; a.d. 654. 

S. Attala, V, at Strasshurg; a. d. 741. 

S. Solus, H. at Solnhoven, near Eichstddt in Bavaria; a.d. 790. 

S. Galgan, H. at Siena; a.d. xx8i. 

S. Francis Xavier, S.y. at San Can; a.d. 1552 (jsee Nov. 30). 

(date uncertain.) 

[Roman Martyrology: "Curiae in Crermania Sancti Lucii Britan- 
noniin Regis qui primus ex iis regibus Christi fidem suscepit, tempore 
Eleutherii Papae." The Menology of Dempster : ** In Scotia bap- 
tizatio Lucii regis per Timotheum S. Pauli discipulum cum Emerita 
sorore." The baptism of Lucius properly on May 26, and his death on 
Dec. 3. At Mainz, S. Lucius on Dec. 5,] 

UCIUS, king of Britain, baptized by Timothy the 
disciple of S. Paul, by solemn decree converted 
all the heathen temples throughout his realm into 
Christian churches, and transformed the sees of 
twenty-eight flamens and three archflamens into so many 
bishoprics and archbishoprics. According to another ver- 
sion of the story, Lucius sent letters to Pope Eleutherius 
(171-186)^ desiring instructors in the Christian religion, 
and was supplied with Faganus and Duvanus, who con- 
verted all Britain, and then returned to Rome to give an 
account of their success. Lucius died childless at Glou- 

* Or 179-194. 

14 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 3. 

cester, says Geoffrey of Monmouth, and was buried there in 
the cathedral. But according to the belief of the Church 
of Coire in the Grisons, he made a pilgrimage to Rome in 
company with his sister Emerita, and died at Coire, where 
he was honourably interred, and where his relics are shown 
to this day. 

Such are the extravagant stories of fiction. It is necessary 
now to ascertain on what foundation they repose. • The 
jstory of. Lucius, the British king, sending to Eleutherius for 
missionaries rests solely on the later form of the " Catalogus 
Pontificum Romanorum," which was written about a.d. 530, 
and which adds to the "Vita Eleutherii" in the earlier 
catalogue, among other things, that " He (Eleutherius) 
received an epistle from Lucius, king of Britain, that he 
might be made a Christian by his command." But this 
passage was not in the original catalogue, written shortly after 
A.D. 353, and was manifestly added in the time of Prosper, 
with the spirit of whose notices of the missions of Germanus 
and Palladius in 429 and 431 it precisely tallies. Bede 
XH. E., i. 4, V. 24, and Chron. in an. 180), copies the Roman 
account, giving however two different dates, and adding the 
names of the emperors, whom he calls Marcus Antoninus 
Terns and Lucius Aurelius Commodus. Gildas (a.d. 560), 
his usual authority for British Church history, knows no- 
thing of Lucius. The earliest British testimony to the 
story is that of Nennius (9th century), who says, " After the 
l)irth of Christ one hundred and sixty-seven years,^ king 
Lucius, with all the chiefs of the British people received 
"baptism, a legation having been sent by the emperors of 
Rome and by Evaristus, the Roman Pope. Lucius was 
called Lleuer Maur, that is of Great Splendour, on account 
.of the faith which came in his time." 

The Roman story is copied — ^with fewer blunders, but 

Other versions 164 and x»*, Evaristus was pope about Z00-Z09. 

Dec. 3.] 

S.Lucius. 15 

equal exaggerations, and fresh details — by the Liber Landa- 
vensis (12th century) — " In the year of our Lord 156 Lucius, 
king of the Britains, sent his legates to Eleutherius, twelfth 
pope on the apostolic throne, imploring that according to 
his admonition, he might be made a Christian, &c." William 
of Malmesbury adds that the Roman missionaries Phagan 
and Deruvan came to Glastonbury. Geoffrey of Monmouth 
and Walter Mapes complete the story. 

The Welsh Triads have something to say about Lucius. 
Bran ab Llyr, the father of Caradog, or Caractacus, is said to 
have been the first to introduce Christianity into Britain. 
Bran and Caradog were betrayed into the hands of the 
Romans by Arcgwedd Foeddog, who is supposed to be 
the Cartismandua of the Roman writer. Bran was detained 
seven years at Rome a hostage for his son, and by this 
means obtained an opportunity of embracing Christianity. 
At the end of the seven years, /. ^., in 88, he returned to 
Britain. But the Welsh tradition does not agree with the 
Latin historians. Tacitus mentions Caractacus appearing 
before Claudius with his wife and daughter and brothers, 
but makes no mention of the father, and Dion Cassius says 
that the father of Caractacus was Cunobelinus, who died 
before the war with the Romans commenced. The de- 
scendants of Bran are styled in the triads, one of the three 
holy families of Britain, and Eigen, a daughter of Caractacus, 
is recorded as the first female saint among the Britons. 
Claudia, the wife of Pudens, is also thought to have been a 
daughter of Caractacus. Cylliu, son of Caradog or Carac- 
tacus, is also called a saint ; he was the father of Lleur^'g, 
or Lleufer Mawr, the Lucius of ecclesiastical fable. One 
triad states that he erected the first church at Llandaff, the 
first in the isle of Britain; and that he gave freedom of 
country and nation, with privilege of judgment, and surety, 
to such as were of the faith of Christ. Another triad speaks 

1 6 Lives of the Saints, [d^^ 3 

of him as the founder of the church of Llandaflf. And the 
Silurian Catalogue of Saints further relates that he applied to 
Rome for spiritual instruction; upon which, four persons, 
named Dyfan, Ffagan, Medwy, and Elfan, were sent him by 
Eleutherius. It is not possible to fix the date when these 
triads were composed. The second is certainly not earlier 
than the 7 th century. 

From the Welsh accounts Lucius or Lleurwg appears to 
have been only a chief of that part of Siluria which was after- 
wards known by the joint names of Gwent and Morgan wg. 

The triads make no mention of the mission to Eleuthe- 
rius. The notice in Achau-y-Saint is too late to deserve 
regard as independent testimony. Still, putting together the 
evidence of the triads and of the Roman tradition, it is not 
impossible that there may have been such an expedition. 
But it must be remarked that the Rpman missionaries sup- 
posed to have been sent by the Pope bear unquestionably 
British names. There are churches of very ^ncient founda- 
tions in Wales dedicated to Lleurwg, Dyfan, Ffagan, and 

Another legend of foreign growth represents Lucius as 
baptized by one Marcellus, bishop either of Tongern or of 
Tr^ves.^ There was a Marcellus of Tongern about 250, 
according to the list drawn up by Hubert of Li^ge in the 8th 
century, but it is untrustworthy ; and a Marcellus of Treves, 
about the same period, probably the same man, if there be 
any reliance whatever to be placed on these lists. According 
to another version (Notker, Martyrol.) he was baptized, as 
already said, by Timothy, whom Dempster makes the dis- 
ciple of S. Paul. At Coire, the story goes that Lucius having 
laid aside crown and sceptre, attended by his sister, crossed 
Gaul, passed through Augsburg, and camj to the Alpine 
valley of the Grisons, and became the apostle of the Rhetian 

* G«sta Treverorum. 

Dec. 3.] 

6*. Birinus. 1 7 

Alps. He preached to the people, who then adored the 
Urochs as a deity, and they cast Lucius into a hot spring, 
from which, however, he issued unhurt. He then retreated 
into a cave, the Luciuslochlein, near Coire, with Emerita. 
She was seized by the pagans and burned to death at Trim- 
mis, and Lucius lost his life in the castle of Martiola, where 
now stands the cathedral. 

The Lucius of Coire is certainly quite another person 
from the Lucius of Wales. 


(a.d. 650.) 

[Roman Mart3nrology. Hereford Kalendar, not that of Sarum. Au- 
thorities : — Bede, H. E. iii. 7 ; Roger of Wendover, Florence of Wor- 
cester, Henry of Huntingdon, &c.] 

Birinus, monk of S. Andrew's monastery in Rome, a 
child of illustrious parents, though apparently not of Roman 
but of Teutonic race,^ came to England at the instigation of 
Pope Honorius, though probably as the result of his own 
convictions, for he declared to the Pope that he " would 
sow the seed of the holy faith in the inner parts beyond the 
dominions of the English, where no other teacher had been 
before him." He received episcopal consecration from 
Asterius, bishop of Genoa. 

A story, not told by Bede, but by later historians, who 
incorporated legend in their records, with slightly differing 
details, is that Birinus, having celebrated the holy sacrifice 
before going on board ship, left behind him his corporal, 
which was the gift of Honorius. When he remembered it, 

* Birinus is probably Bjom or Baerin or Berin, a compound expressive of Bear in 
some form, High or Low German. 


1 8 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 3. 

the ship was already out at sea ; in his sorrow, Birinus 
threw himself overboard and made for shore, recovered the 
corporal, and returned over the water to the ship, which 
remained stationary in spite of an off-shore wind. When 
the heathen mariners saw that his garments were not wet, 
they were amazed, and eagerly desired baptism. The ship 
was driven by the wind and weather to the coast of the 
Gewisse, or West Saxons, where he landed, 634. The voyage 
was represented in a window at the abbey church of Dor- 
chester, but nothing remains of it but a few fragments of 
painted glass. 

Finding that all the inhabitants were pagans, he deter- 
mined to preach the word of God there, before proceeding 

Next year he was at the court of Cynegils, king of 
Wessex; Oswald, the saintly king of Northumbria, was 
also there, having come to demand of Cynegils the hand of 
his daughter Cuneberga in marriage. Cynegils was bap- 
tized in the presence of Oswald, who stood sponsor to him, 
and, as Bede says, ^'by an alliance most pleasing and 
acceptable to God, first adopted him, thus regenerated, as 
his son, and then took his daughter in marriage." 

The imion, according to later Roman usage, would have 
been regarded as incestuous, and demanded a special and 
expensive dispensation. The baptism is supposed to be 
represented on the font in Winchester Cathedral, and 
Robert of Gloucester thus recounts it in his Chronicle : — 

}* Saint Birin the bishop, a holy man was, 

ITiat into this land, through the pope Honorius, sent was 

To turn king of Westsex, Kingils, to Christendom 

And that land of Westsex, and to this land he come. 

S. Birin him to Christendom tumde through Code's grace 

And as God wolde, S. Oswald was in thulke place ; 

And of holy font stone this great king did nome 

And his Godfader was, in his Christendom. 

Dec. 3.3 

S. Birinus. 19 

S. Oswald and this other king, through our Loixrde's grace 

Provided S. Birin to his will, a place 

That t)orchester is called, that beside Oxenford is, 

As in the east south, and seven mile I wis." 

While Oswald remained with C)megils, they consulted 
together concerning the establishment of a bishop's see, and 
as the kingdom of Mercia was without a bishop, Dorchester 
near Oxford was fixed upon as being convenient for the 
two kingdoms. The jurisdiction of the bishop extended 
therefore over the modem dioceses of Winchester, Lichfield, 
Worcester, Hereford, Bath and Wells, Salisbury, Lincoln, 
Ely, Oxford, Gloucester and Bristol, Exeter, Peterborough, 
and Chester. This arrangement was evidently but a tem- 
porary one, for Cynegils began to rebuild the cathedral at 
Winchester, but died before it was completed, in the thirty-* 
first year of his reign, having enjoyed the happiness of a 
long-extended peace. His remains are placed with those of 
King Ethelwulf in a mortuary chest in Winchester Cathedral, 
on the screen on the north side of the sanctuary. 

After the death of Cynegils, his son Kenwalch succeeded. 
" He refused to embrace the mysteries of the faith, divorced 
his wife, the sister of Penda of Mercia, and married another." 
This proceeding called down on him the wrath of the 
redoubtable Penda, who attacked, defeated, and drove him 
from Wessex. For three years he took refuge with Anna, 
the Christian king of the East Angles, and there, considering 
the political necessity of the case, or growing tired at once 
of the new wife and of the position of a dethroned king, he 
returned to the embraces of Penda's daughter and the 
Christian Church. He was baptized by Bishop Felix, of East 
Anglia, in 646. He was then restored to his kingdom. He 
set to work at the completion of the church at Winchester, 
and it was consecrated on Christmas Day, 648. 

We have no record of the labours of Birinus during the 

20 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 3. 

time he had the spiritual charge of the kingdoms of Wessex 
and Mercia. History only sums up the events of his life by 
informing us that he planted Christianity firmly everywherie, 
and consecrated churches. He gave his spirit to heaven on 
the 3rd December, having governed his church fourteen 
years. He was buried at Dorchester, but his body was 
removed to Winchester by Bishop Hedda, and an entrance 
\o a vault in the cathedral bears his name amongst those of 
others whose bones repose therein. 

(a.d. 741.) 

[French, German, and Benedictine Martyrologies. Authority:— 
Strassburg Breviary.] 

Attala, daughter of Adalbert, duke of Elsass, and of 
Jerlinda his wife, was brought up by her aunt, S. Odilia. 
She took the vow of virginity, and was placed by her father 
at the head of the monastery of S. Stephen he had founded 
at Strassburg. Her virtue, gentleness, prudence, and charity 
made her to be generally beloved and admired. She 
governed the sisters as abbess for twenty years, and died in 
the year 741, aged fifty-four. 

(a.d. 790.) 

[German Maytjrrologies. Authority : — A Life written by Ermenold, 
or Ermanric, abbot of Elwangen (d. 866), in Mabillon, Acta SS. O. S. B. 
ssec. iii. p. 2.] 

Solus was an Englishman, who followed S. Boniface into 
Germany, and was ordained priest by him. He sought out 
a solitary place near the banks of the Altmuhl in Bavaria, 

Dec. 3.] 

S. Solus. 21 

and fashioned for himself there a simple cell. The place 
was not unattractive, with the winding river, clear as crystal, 
the beautiful, though not lofty hills,^ with broken limestone 
rocks peeping through the brushwood. The Romans had 
worked quarries there,* and they were not, probably, then 
wholly deserted. Solus may have served as missionary to 
the rude quarrymen, and mused and wondered over the 
fossils he found in the rocks they chipped, fish as distinct as 
if killed the other day, and the impress and bones of the 
pterodactyl, or flying lizard. No doubt he pointed to them 
as proofs of the Deluge. 

Solus found that the Altmuhl abounded in trout, and 
especially in huge crayfish. 

Charlemagne heard of his virtues, and gave him a grant 
of the land all round his cell Willibold, bishop of Eich- 
stadt, not many miles distant, regarded his fellow country- 
man with great respect, so did also the bishop's brother 

His biographer tells an odd stoiy about him, which he 
heard from some old people of the neighbourhood. Solus 
was one day travelling with his ass, when he came to a place 
where sheep were pasturing without their shepherd, who 
had deserted them for a while. Suddenly the ass pricked up 
its ears, erected its tail, and dashed out of the road.' Solus 
looked round, and saw a wolf crouching under a tree, watch* 
ing the sheep, Then Solus called to his ass, '' In the name 
of my Lord Jesus Christ, O jackass, I command you, that 
you attack the beast lying under that fruit tree, plotting 
destruction to the sheep!"* Neddy at once arrested his 

* " Undique alpibiis celsis circumseptus est," an exaggeration of Ennenold. 
' These quarries supply Europe with lithc^^phic stones. 

* "Csepit assellus aures vicissim erigere, dein offensis pedibus caput in altum 
extendere ; ad extremum elevata cauda declivis per avia currere csepit." 

* " In nomine Domini mei Jesu Christi, O asine, prsecipio tibi, ut concito cursu 
imias in earn bestiam quse sub frutice latet, insidiando insdis bidentibus." 

22 L tves of the Saints. ^d^c. 3. 

precipitate career, dashed up to the startled wolf, and 
assailed him with hoofs and teeth. The shepherds arrived 
whilst this strange duel was going on, and. watched in 
amused surprise till the ass stood panting, exultant, and 
bloody over the corpse of the ravenous beast. 

St)lus departed to his I-ord on the 3rd December, about 
the year 790. A chapel was built where his oratory had 
stood, and his body was taken up and enshrined by the 
authority of Pope Gregory IV., in or about the year 830. 
Solnhoven became afterwards a monastery subject to 

Dec. 4] S. Clement of Alexandria. 23 

December 4. 

S. Clement or Alexandria, P.D, at Alexandria; circ. 

A.D. 3x7. 
S. Barbara, V.M. at Nicomedia; circ. a.d. 235. 
S. Melbtius, B. in Pontus; circ. a.d. 330. 
S. Felix, B. 0/ Bologna; a.d. 439. 
S. Maruthas, B. in Mesopotamia; circ. a.d. 430. 
S. Theophanbs, M. at Constantinople; a.d. 780. 
S. Anno, Abp. of Cologne; a.d. Z075. 
S. Osmund, B. ofSalisbuty; a.d. zogg. 


(about A.D. 217.) 

[Martyrology of Usuardos. Withdrawn from Roman Martyrologyi 
the reasons given in the preface to the Martyrology of 1 75 1. Au< 
thorities : — Eusebius, Jerome, and his own writings.] 

ITUS FLAVIUS CLEMENS, commonly called 
Clement of Alexandria, to distinguish him from 
Clement of Rome, was one of the most distin* 
guished Christian fathers of the third century. 
The ancients were not agreed as to the place of his birth ; 
some placed it at Alexandria, others at Athens, and say that 
he only obtained his title from the fact of his having made 
a long stay and taught in Alexandria.* His parents were 
pagans, and he did not become a Christian till he had reached 
the ripe age of manhood. On this account he classed him- 
self with those who abandoned the sinful service of paganism 
for faith in the Redeemer, and received from Him the forgive- 
ness of their sins.* By free inquiry he convinced himself of 
the truth of Christianity, after he had acquired an extensive 

* Epiphan. Haer. xxxii. 6. ' Paedagog. ii. 8. 







^ — .>'^ 

24 Lives of the Saints. ^dcc. 4. 

knowledge of the system of religion, and of the philosophy 
of Divine things known at his time in the enlightened world 
This free spirit of inquiry, which had conducted him to 
Christianity, led him, moreover, after he had become a Chris- 
tian, to seek the society of eminent Christian teachers of 
different mental tendencies in different countries. He in- 
forms us that he had had various distinguished men as his 
teachers : an Ionian in Greece, one from Ccelo-Syria, one in 
Magna Graecia (Lower Italy), who came originally from 
Egypt, an Assyrian in Eastern Asia (doubtless Syria), and 
one of Jewish descent in Palestine. He finally took up his 
abode in Egypt, where he met with a great Gnosticus, who 
had penetrated most profoundly into the spirit of Scripture. 
This last was doubtless Pantaenus. Eusebius not only ex- 
plains it so, but refers also to a passage in the Hypotyposes 
of Clement, where he has named hiip as his instructor.^ 
Clement was ordained priest of the church of Alexandria, 
and was appointed by Demetrius, the bishop, to succeed 
Pantaenus as president of the catechetical . school, about 
A.D. 189. It was from this date that he became famous as a 
doctor and writer. His vast erudition, his thorough know- 
ledge of Greek literature, his philosophic education, and his 
glowing eloquence, commanded the respect of the heathen, 
and drew them to his lectures. The most famous of his 
pupils were Origen and S. Alexander of Jerusalem. 

Clement had occupied his position at Alexandria in the 
school for twelve years, when, in 202, the persecution broke 
out under Septimius Severus. He retired from Alexandria, 
and probably took refuge with his disciple Alexander, then 
bishop of Flaviades in Cappadocia. When Alexander was 
appointed coadjutor to Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem, in 
209, he followed him to that city and opened in it a school. 
In 211' Alexander sent him to Antioch to assist in the 

* Praep. Evang. vi. ij. 

Dec. 4.] 

S. Barbara. 25 

election of a bishop. In a letter he thus describes Clement: — 
" This epistle, my brethren, I have sent to you by Clement, 
the blessed priest, a man endowed with all virtue, and well 
approved, whom you already know, and will learn still more 
to know ; who, also, coming hither by the providence and 
superintendence of the Lord, has confirmed and increased 
the Church of God/** 

This is all we know of the life of this remarkable man. 
We do not know when he died, but as S. Jerome says that he 
flourished under Septimius Severus and his successor Cara- 
calla, he cannot have died later than 217. 

We have three- works of his, which form, as it were, a con- 
nected series : the first, his Exhortation to the Gentiles ; the 
second, his Paedagogos ; and the third, his Stromata. The 
Hypotyposes and other works of his pen are lost. 

(A.D. 235.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, Ado, Notker, &c All Greek 
Menseas and Menologies. Authority : — The fabulous Acts.] 

UsuARDUS and Ado in their mart3rrologies make S. Bar- 
bara a martyr in Tuscany ; Metaphrastes says she suffered at 
Heliopolis ; Baronius, in the Roman Martyrology, sets her 
down as a mart3rr at Nicomedia. One authority is just as 
right as the other, for S. Barbara is a wholly mythical per- 

There was once upon a time a very wealthy and noble 
Greek named Dioscorus, an idolater, who had a daughter so 
beautiful in face and form that he shut her up in a tower, 
very lofty and inaccessible, so that no man might see her, 

* Euseb. H. £. Ivi. c. ii. 


26 Lives of the Saints. ^ec. 4. 

and that thus she might be kept out of mischief. According 
to one account, however) he allowed her to take lessons of 
masters, of advanced age, or, no doubt, of disagreeable ap* 

At last Dioscorus determined to marry her to a suitable 
partner, but when he broached the subject, he found his 
daughter wholly opposed to the scheme. By some means 
or other the lovely Barbara had imbibed the doctrines of the 
Gospel, and had resolved to dedicate her virginity to God. 
Her father was about to go a long journey. Before he de- 
parted, she expressed to him her desire to have a bath con* 
«tructed at the basement of her tower, in which she could 
disport herself, and while away the tediousness of the long 
hours of her incarceration. Dioscorus consented, but gave 
strict orders to the workmen to make two windows to this bath 
so high in the wall as to be inaccessible to any impudent and 
forward youth who might, desire to look in whilst Barbara was 
splashing in her bath. The judicious father departed before 
the bath was completed. Barbara urged on the workman the 
insufficiency of two windows, and insisted on their making a 
third. After great hesitation they consented to make a third 
opening. Barbara drew her finger on the marble rim of the 
bath, and a cross remained furrowed in the stone. On the 
return of Dioscorus from his journey, he was surprised and 
indignant at finding three windows to the bath-room instead 
of two. Barbara took occasion to preach to him on the 
mystery of the Trinity, and to illustrate and make it com- 
prehensible by means of the three windows. She also 
pointed to the miraculous cross she had drawn on the 
marble, and continued her discourse on the mystery of 

Dioscorus was furious ; he drew his sword and rushed upon 
the maiden to put^ her to death. But suddenly the rock 

* "On croit qu'Origene fut de ce nombre.**— Ott^in et Giry. He was unobjection- 
able on other grounds. 

Dec. 4.3 

S. Barbara. ,27 

deft, received her into its bosom, and left Dioscorus striking 
furiously on its flinty surface.^ 

The excited and astonished parent tore about the moun-* 
tain looking for his daughter. She had, in the meantime, 
slipped out of the rock at a distance from the tower. His 
search was in vain ; at last, however, he lit on two shepherds, 
and asked them if they had seen his daughter. They had, in 
fact, caught sight of Barbara emerging from the mountain, 
and knew where she was lurking. One of the shepherds^ 
being a good man, told a lie, and said that he had not seen 
her anywhere. The other shepherd, being very wicked, 
pointed with his finger in the direction in which Dioscorus 
was to seek her. The father found her, kicked and beat her, 
and drew her by the hair before the chief magistrate, Mar- 
cian, who, when he saw her, was captivated by her appear- 
ance, and did his utmost to persuade her to sacrifice to the 
gods. She refused. He therefore ordered her to be stripped, 
aod beaten, till her back and sides were raw. She was then 
taken to prison, when Christ appeared to her in a blaze of 
light and healed all her wounds. Next day she was again 
brought before the judge, who ordered her sides to be torn 
with iron combs, and her " venerable head " to be hammered. 
A girl named Juliana, who witnessed these barbarities, burst 
out crying. She was therefore arrested and treated in the 
same manner. 

Notwithstanding the hammering on her " venerable head,** 
the blessed martyr Barbara preserved her faculties, and was 
able to address an eloquent prayer to Heaven. Marcian then 
ordered the breasts of Barbara to be cut off, and that she 
should be led naked round the town. The virgin prayed, 
and Christ at once came from heaven with a gown and put 
it over her. 

* So Thecla was received by a rockfrom pursuit So the mother of Rabbi Jebuda 
the Pious was received by a wall at Worms, when a Christian drove his car against 
her. The recess in the wall is still shbwn at Worms. So also the mother of Rabbi 
Rascfai (Sdiolmo ben Isaac) was saved from violence. 

28 Lives of the Saints. ^^0.4. 


Marcian, at a loss what more cruelty to exercise on Bar- 
bara, gave sentence that she and Juliana should be executed 
with the sword. 

As they were led to execution Barbara prayed. On reach- 
ing the destined place, her father cut off her head, and 
Juliana suffered likewise. A flash of lightning fell and con- 
sumed Dioscorus, another flash reduced Marcian to a smoking 
ash-heap. Accordingly S. Barbara is held to be the patroness 
of firearms, and is invoked against the lightning. 

Just before her death, she prayed that whoever should in- 
voke her aid might receive what they asked, and a voice 
from heaven replied that so it should be. She is therefore 
also regarded as a proper saint to call upon at the hour of 
death ; and as a patroness by whose aid one may insure not 
perishing without the last sacraments. She is accordingly 
represented not only with the three-windowed tower, but 
also holding a chalice with the Host above it. 

The relics of S. Barbara are very numerous, especially in 


The date of her death is as arbitrary as the fixing of the 

locality where she suflfered. The real locality of her passion 

was the brain of the inventor of her legend. 


(about A.D. 320.)' 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, Ado, &c. Authorities : — Euse- 
bius, H. £. lib. vii. c. 32 ; S. Basil, De Spir. Sane. e. 29.] 

Meletius, bishop of Pontus, called " Attic Honey," both 
from his name and his eloquence, was a man of great learn- 
ing and virtue. In the persecution of Diocletian he took 
refuge in Palestine and remained there seven years, after 
which he returned to his diocese. 

Dec. 4.] 

^S. Anno. 29 

(a.d. 1075.) 

[Roman and German Martyrologies. Authorities: — A Life ^ by a 
monk* of Siegburg, written in 1 109, in Pertz, Mon. sc. xi. p. 465-514. 
A valuable vernacular metrical Life by an unknown author, thought by 
Lachmann to have been written in 1 183, but by Holtzman to have been 
composed by Lambert of Hersfeld (or of Aschaffensburg) in 1080. Of 
this there are several editions ; the latest and best by K. Roth, " Leben 
des heilen Anno, nach der Opitzischen Handschrift herausgegeben," 
Miinchen, 1848. Also especial mention of S. Anno in Lambert of 
AschafTensburg's contemporary Chronicle, from which the monk of 
Siegburg makes verbatim extracts.] 

S. Anno was the son of Walter, count of PfuUingen and 
Engela, of an honourable family, but not either wealthy or 
important, and was destined for military service. But his 
uncle, a canon of Bamberg, having visited the father of the 
boy, persuaded him to let Anno be brought up for the 
Church. He carried the lad back with him to Bamberg, 
and instructed him in letters and the Latin tongue. He 
became master of the school at Bambei^, and having gained 
the goodwill of the Emperor Henry HI., he was attached to 
his person as chaplain. On the death of Hermann II., 
archbishop of Cologne, the emperor appointed Anno to that 
important see, investing him with both crosier and ring. 
He thought, no doubt, that by thus elevating a man of unim- 
portant family and fortune he would secure the allegiance of 
one of the most powerful* electors of the empire, and attach 
him to his crown. The people of Cologne were, however, 
by no means pleased at having so insignificant a personage 
set above them, and they received him with murmurs and 
scoffs. He was consecrated in spite of their discontent, in 
the cathedral church, on March 3, 1056. His gratitude was 
forgotten in the pride of precedence above the haughty arch- 
bishop of Mainz, which was accorded him by Henry III., and 

30 Lives of the Saints. p)cc. 4. 

he forgot both gratitude and decency in Ihs violent rebukes 
administered to the emperor, who went to him for confes- 
sion before attending a diet of the empire. Anno even beat 
the emperor with his fists, slapped his face, and refused to 
allow him to wear his imperial crown next day, till he had 
disbursed a large sum of money, which Anno scattered 
amongst the poor. 

In 1055 the emperor was in Italy, but was obliged to hasten 
home on account of an insurrection organized by Godfrey 
of Lorraine, and threats of war from France. Victor II., 
whom Henry had elevated to the papacy from the bishopric 
of Eichstadt, came to Goslar to the emperor in 1056, to the 
aid of his old master. He arrived to receive his confession, 
and administer to him the last sacraments. The emperor, 
in consequence of violent exertions in the chase, had caught 
a fever, which, working on a mind harassed by the perplex- 
ing state of affairs, brought him to the grave. He died, 
leaving an infant son, Henry, to the care of his wife Agnes of 
Poitou, and of Pope Victor. 

Agnes, left alone at the head of the state, chose Henry, 
bishop of Augsburg, and Guibert, archbishop of Ravenna, 
to be her advisers. She was a pious, cultivated woman, but 
deficient in the energy befitting her station. She sought to 
rule the turbulent spirits of the age by gentleness and per- 
suasion. One aim of her policy was to keep the haughty 
archbishops in check by means of the lay princes, and she 
endeavoured to unite the dukes to the young king by bind- 
ing them with favours. Anno of Cologne and Siegfried of 
Mainz, with Eckbert, margrave of Meissen, and Otto, count 
of Nordheim, determined, if possible, to wrest the govern-! 
ment fi:om the hands of Agnes. The two archbishops were 
jealous of the bishop of Augsburg, a pious man, but proud, 
and not disposed to bribe them. They trumped up a vile 
report of criminal attachment between the pure empress 

Dec. 4. 

S. Anno. 3 1 

and the holy bishop, and agitated men's minds with suspi- 
cion, to prepare them for the' execution of the bold stroke 
which they contemplated. 

Agnes was celebrating the feast of Pentecost on the 
island of Kaiserwerth in the Rhine. The conspirators were 
also there. After the banquet, when the young prince was 
in high spirits, the archbishop of Cologne invited him to in- 
spect the new and beautiful ship that had brought him down 
the river. The boy was easily persuaded to enter the ship, 
when^ at a signal,' the vessel was cut adrift, and the rowers 
bowed over their oars, the sail was spread, and the boat shot 
up the river. The young king, fearing an attempt on his 
life, sprang overboard, but was saved by Count Eckbert and 
brought back again into the vessel. The confederates en- 
deavoured to pacify him with flattery and assurances, and 
brought him safely to Cologne. In the meantime those on 
the island, seeing the archbishop's vessel breasting the 
stream, ran to the shore and shouted wrathfully against the 
confederates, bitterly inveighing against their treachery. 
The news spread like wild-fire, and the whole of Germany 
was in agitation. Many nobles demanded of Archbishop 
Anno that he should restore the king to his rightful guar- 
dians, the bishops of Freisingen and Halberstadt loudly and 
indignantly complained, the people murmured, and Anno 
saw his former popularity changed into hatred. .But he 
was not disposed to relinquish his hold of the goose that 
laid golden eggs, and he used his power to bribe those 
loudest in their complaints into acquiescence in his plans. 
He made the bishop of Freisingen archbishop of Magdeburg, 
and he gave the archbishopric of Salzburg to the bishop of 
Halberstadt. To the bishop of Bamberg, who, after having 
been loaded with gifts by the empress Agnes, had turned 
against her, he restored the lordship of Froschheim and thirty- 
six estates of which he had been deprived by the emperor 

32 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 4. 

■ ' ' ■' I— ' III 

Henry III. He stopped the mouth of Duke Ordulf of 
Saxony with munificent gifts of lands belonging to the em- 
peror. Of course the confederates took good care to.reward 
themselves out of the imperial possessions. To keep up 
appearances, Anno ruled that the regent and guardian of 
the young king should be that bishop in whose diocese 
he happened to reside, but he was fully resolved not to 
let his charge escape his guardianship, and if allowed to 
leave Cologne it was only that Henry might pass to the care 
of the archbishop of Mainz, who was in league with him. 
But perhaps the most dreadfiil incident in the whole of 
this infamous proceeding was the revengeful murder of the 
bishop of Augsburg, whom Anno and his confederates con- 
demned, on notoriously false charges, to a horrible and 
shameful death.^ The broken-hearted empress, bereft of 
her son, resigned the regency, and retired to an Italian con- 
vent. However, Anno soon found out that King Henry 
hated him and the archbishop of Mainz alike, and that 
from this cause it was impossible for him to obtain the 
power he desired. He was therefore obliged to look out 
for someone who could adapt himself to the position by 
acquiring the confidence of the youth, without becoming in^ 
dependent of the archbishop. He hoped to have found such 
a man in Archbishop Albert of Bremen, a prelate of high 
birth, great accomplishments, and courteous manners. Anno 
was austere and sanctimonious, and Henry made no secret 
pf his hatred of him. Albert was a gentleman, the brother 
of the Palatine Frederick of Saxony, was a keen politician, 
zealous in spreading Christianity among the heathen of Scan- 
dinavia, accustomed to, and loving pleasure, was very hand- 
some, pure in morals, fond of splendour, munificent in his 
charities, a genial friend, but an implacable enemy. He had 
formed the plan of raising the number of bishoprics under 

* " Coleis ligneo palo pertusis." 

Dec. 4.] 

5. Anno. 33 

his rule to twelve, and of constituting himself Patriarch of 
the North. To carry out this scheme it was necessary for 
him to have a share in the government of the empire, and 
when Anno of Cologne offered to admit him to the joint 
guardianship of the young king he embraced the proposal 
with enthusiasm, and in a very short while had obtained for 
himself nearly the whole of the power. 

Archbishop Albert won the favour of the young king, who 
was only too glad to escape the cloistral monotony of the 
palace of Cologne for the splendid luxury of that of Bremen. 
Archbishop Albert, instead of rebuking the boy for his 
faults, laughed at them — instead of going counter to his 
wishes, gave them full rein ; and treated with equal indul- 
gence his companion and friend Count Werner, a frivolous 
and undisciplined youth. Albert, himself loving pomp, gave 
the king a train of courtiers, and prepared for him magnifi- 
cent banquets and varied entertainments, the cost of which 
was defrayed from the funds of the see. In order to protect 
himself from the envy of powerful vassals of the crown, he 
had recourse, like Anno, to bribery. For this purpose he 
gave away the wealthy abbeys. Archbishop Siegfried of 
Mainz was given, together with other imperial estates, the 
abbey of Seligenstadt ; Archbishop Anno of Cologne, who 
had already managed to appropriate a ninth part of the im- 
perial treasure, was further enriched by the gift of the 
abbeys of Malmedy and Comelis-Miinster ; Duke Otto of 
Bavaria received the abbey of Kempten ; Duke Ordulph of 
Saxony was secured by the gift of the castle of Ratzeburg ; 
Count Werner, the king's favourite, received Kirchberg, 
although it belonged to the abbey of Hersfeld, and Arch- 
bishop Albert had no right to dispose of it The bishop of 
Speyer was given two abbeys, and all the other bishops and 
archbishops were given monasteries, lands, and privileges at 
the expense of the imperial crown. Archbishop Albert of 


34 Lives of the Saints. 

[Dec. 4. 

Bremen, as may be supposed, took care to feather his own 
nest well. The amount of lands, the number of monastic 
houses, whose revenues he appropriated was enormous. The 
empire during the regency of the bishop of Augsburg and 
the archbishops of Cologne, Mainz, and Bremen, was a 
great mine which these unscrupulous prelates plundered at 

Archbishop Anno had used his time of power to. enrich his 
relations and friends : in defiance of the right of election be- 
longing to the chapters, he appointed his brother Wetzel to 
the archbishopric of Magdeburg, his nephew Burkhard to the 
bishopric of Hildesheim, and his friends Eilbert and Wilhelm 
to the bishoprics of Minden and Utrecht. But Albert was 
too proud to distribute church offices among his relatives, at 
the cost of the empire. He desired that those whom he 
benefited should derive their benefits from himself alone. 
He therefore made to his kinsmen munificent presents in 
money out of his own possessions. Those lands which the 
king gave him he gave as feudal tenures to others, or to the 
diocese, being desirous of making a great show through the 
number of his vassals. Before he had become governor of 
the king he had spent his revenues in building churches j 
now they went in the erection of castles, and in the satisfac- 
tion of extravagant caprices. He amused himself by turning 
barren districts into gardens and vineyards, not for purposes 
of utility, but to astonish by the exhibition of his power. At 
the same time he lost all control over himself : when he was 
angry he struck those who offended him, even priests, till he 
drew blood ; if he felt a charitable impulse, he gave extrava- 
gantly : thus, on one occasion, he gave a beggar a hundred 
pounds of silver. 

His extravagance in time exhausted the revenues of his 
see and of the royal possessions, and he then had recourse 
to unworthy means of supplying himself with the means 

Dec. 4.] 

S. Anno. 35 

necessary for keeping up his usual sumptuousness and lavish 
expenditure. First he ground down his subjects with taxes, 
and after that sold bishoprics, abbeys, and every office in 
Church and State. The proceeds he divided with Count 
Werner, the king's favourite. At last no single office could 
be had, whether secular or ecclesiastical, except by purchase. 
To increase his revenue he tried to obtain from the king the 
wealthy abbeys of Lorsch and Corbie. He endeavoured by 
every means in his power to obtain the deposition of the 
abbot of Lorsch, but the abbot conducted himself with such 
caution that no occasion could be found against him. Then 
the king Avithout excuse gave the abbey to the archbishop ; 
but the retainers of the abbot assembled, armed, in such 
numbers to oppose his taking possession, that Albert did not 
venture to enforce his claim. The king nominated the 
abbot of Corbie to the bishopric of Pola, in Istria, to draw 
him from his possession ; but Duke Otto of Bavaria having 
discovered that the bishop of Pola was alive, and that the 
nomination was a trick to get the abbot out of the way in 
order to install the archbishop of Bremen in his place, pro- 
tected the abbot. Other abbots were not so fortunate. 
They were forced to pay large sums to the king and the 
archbishop to be allowed to retain peaceable possession of 
their lands and offices. When Bishop Gunther of Bamberg 
was dead, his steward betook himself to court, and bought 
the bishopric for himself. 

The pride and avarice of the archbishop of Bremen had 
stirred up against him many enemies, and a conspiracy was 
formed to oppose and overthrow him by Archbishop Anno 
of Cologne, Archbishop Siegfried of Mayence, the Dukes 
Rudolf of Swabia, Otto of Bavaria, and Gottfried of Lor- 
raine. A diet was held at Tribur, and the king was required 
either to abdicate the throne, or to dismiss the archbishop 
from his court. The king gave no answer, and Archbishop 

36 Lives of the Saints. pjec. 4. 

Albert advised him to take horse and fly by night with the 
imperial insignia to Saxony. The confederates were informed 
of this, and placed guards round the palace ; and the king 
was obliged to disgrace the archbishop. Albert retired 
humbled and poor to his exhausted see, and was reduced to 
live on the pittance he could drain from the monasteries of 
his diocese. 

The character of the young emperor had been ruined by 
his two episcopal governors. Anno had been harsh, con- 
scientious in a way, ascetic in life, and despotic in his rule 
of the youthful prince. Albert had been the reverse in 
every particular. The sudden change from the severity 
with which he had been disciplined by Anno to the un- 
limited indulgence with which he was treated by Albert was 
most pernicious. The gravity and study to which he had 
been inured had been abruptly exchanged for the thoughtless 
gaiety of a luxurious court, where affairs of State were treated 
as lightly as a jest. 

The unbridled simony of the archbishop knew no scruple 
as to the means whereby he could obtain benefices of im- 
portance for his partizans. He is accused, perhaps unjustly, 
of having employed for this shameless object the caresses of 
beautiful courtezans, and even of abbesses and nuns of high 
birth, to extract from the prince the letters, signatures, and 
donations requisite for the success of his plans. But as 
Albert, with all his faults, was of pure morals himself, this 
charge is perhaps an invention of his enemies. The dis- 
orderly life of the king was beyond his control, but it was 
his fault that this was the case. 

The fall of Albert reinstated Anno, who had no sooner 
resumed the power, than he appointed his nephew Cuno to 
the archbishopric of Trfeves, in defiance of the right of elec- 
tion which had always belonged to the clergy and people of 
the electorate. As the people of Trfeves refused to receive 

Dec. 4.] 

6*. Anno. 37 

the archbishop thus unconstitutionally forced. upon them, 
Anno sent a body of armed men, and the bishop of Speyer to 
induct him into the see; but Count Dietrich, marshal or 
vogt of the diocese, attacked him at Bittburg, cut the retinue 
to pieces, and plundered the treasure of the archbishop. The 
bishop of Speyer took refuge in a church behind the altar, 
where he was caught and cudgelled, stripped of his clothes, 
and obliged to fly barefooted and half- naked on an old 
horse. The intrusive archbishop was loaded with chains, 
brutally maltreated, and then given to some knights to make 
away with. They threw him down some rocks, but as he 
still breathed, ran him through with their swords. The 
murderers were never punished.^ 

In 1065, Henry had been, at Anno's advice, solemnly 
declared capable of bearing arms. No sooner was his 
sword girded on, than he drew it jestingly upon Anno — ^an 
action at once indicative of dislike and levity. 

Anno next committed the grave mistake of forcing on the 
young prince a wife whom he detested. Bertha, daughter 
of the Italian margrave of Susa, a noble-spirited woman, 
who only wanted beauty easily to supplant the mistresses of 
the young emperor, had been affianced to him in childhood. 
Anno insisted on their being married, and Henry, as soon as 
the marriage ceremony was over, deserted her, and refused 
to live with her. 

In the meantime, owing to the dissensions that prevailed 
throughout the empire, and the humiliation of Albert of 
Bremen, who for three years was obliged to remain in con- 
cealment, the Saxons devastated the archdiocese of Bremen, 
and the Northern Sclaves in Mecklenburg and Pomerania 
rose and extirpated Christianity. The vain attempts of Or- 
dulf of Saxony, and, after his death, those of his son Magnus 

I A full account of this transaction is given by a contemporary, Dietrich, monk of 
Tholei. — Pertz, Mon Sacr. viii. p. 212. 

38 Lives of the Saints. pjec. 4. 

to oppose the inroads of the Sclaves merely added to the 
misery of the Saxons, and embittered their hatred of their 
inactive and licentious emperor. Hamburg and Mecklen- 
burg were destroyed by the pagans, who sacrificed John, 
bishop of Mecklenburg, to their deities, stoned S. Ansverus, 
the abbot of Ratzeburg, and twenty-eight monks to death, 
assassinated Gottschalk, the Christian chief of the Obotrites, 
at Leuzen, at the foot of the altar, and turned his Danish 
wife out naked. 

Whilst the north was thus convulsed, the imperial court 
presented a continued scene of petty dissension. The 
emperor, still influenced by the prejudices of his youth, was 
alternately swayed by conflicting passions, but at length, 
notwithstanding the opposition of Anno and Bertha, recalled 
Albert of Bremen to court in 1069. The fidelity and patience 
of the wretched empress merely contributed to increase the 
dislike manifested towards her by her husband, and to 
strengthen his resolution to free himself from the tie that 
bound him to her. Siegfried, archbishop of Mainz, offered 
to assist him in procuring a divorce, on condition of receiving 
in return the tithes of Thuringia. To these tithes he had 
no right, except this : that during the minority of Henry 
his predecessor had obtained fi-om the prince a donation of 
them. This the Thuringians had steadily and successfully 
resisted. The promise of Henry to support the claim em- 
bittered the Thuringian nobles against him. In a diet held 
at Worms Henry made a public declaration of his uncon- 
querable aversion to his unoffending wife, from whom he 
demanded a separation. His plan was frustrated by. the 
arrival of S. Peter Damiani, the legate of Pope Alexander 
II., whose eloquence impressed even his versatile mind. 

The death of Albert of Bremen, which, fortunately for 
the empire, took place in 1070, once more threw the reins 
of government for a short period into the hands of Anno. 

Dec. 4.} 

S. Anno. 39 

A synod held by the emperor at Erfurt, in which he imposed 
the tithes demanded by the archbishop of Mainz on 
Thuringia, effectually alienated the minds of the Saxon 
bishops from him, and in 1073 a conspiracy was formed 
against him by the Saxon and Thuringian nobles, and among 
the bishops, by Wetzel of Magdeburg, by Bucco of Halber- 
stadt, whose pursuits were rather those of a warrior than a 
bishop, Anno's nephew, and Henry's most violent opponent, 
and by Benno of Meissen, a peaceful missionary, a planter 
of the fruit tree and the vine, besides all the other Saxon 
bishops, with the exception of those of Bremen, Zeiz, and 
Osnabriick, who sided with the emperor, and were conse- 
quently expelled the country. 

But it would carry us too far to follow the miseraHe dis- 
cords of that long reign, and relate all the treasons, insur- 
rections, and violences of the German bishops against Henry 
IV. His fifty years' reign was passed in contest and blood- 
shed. He fought sixty-two battles, and in each one of those 
a prelate was among his opponents.' The many opposition 
kings who started up were all supported by the bishops, who 
even incited his own son to supplant him. 

It was in 11 04 that Henry, the best loved and youngest 
son of the old emperor, instigated by Pope and prelates, 
raised his hand against his father. The touching appeals of 
the emperor to his son being disregarded, Henry IV. put 
himself at the head of his troops and marched against him ; 
but the emperor discovering that he was betrayed by his 
followers, fled in the sorrow of his heart. He had still 
numerous adherents in the Rhineland, and his son, finding 
force unavailing, attempted by cunning to oblige him 
voluntarily to abdicate the throne, and proposed a con- 
ference at Coblentz. The emperor came ; but struck to the 
heart at the sight of his ungrateful child, flung himself at his 
feet, exclaiming ; " My son, my son, if I am punished by God 

40 Lives of the Saints, [Dec. 4. 

for my sins, at least stain not thine honour by sitting in 
judgment on thy father." 

The emperor was shut up in the Castle of Bingen, and 
was required by the archbishops of Mainz and Cologne, 
and the bishop of Worms, to surrender the crown jewels. 
The aged emperor placed the imperial insignia of Charle- 
magne on his own person, and appearing in state before 
the bishops, defied them to touch the ornaments worn by 
the ruler of the world. But to these prelates nothing was 
sacred : the crown and mantle of Charlemagne were plucked 
off him, and they hasted to adorn with them the person of 
his son, then at Mainz. The fallen emperor was given into 
the hands of Gebhard, bishop of Speyer, who took a fiend- 
ish pleasure in humbling and tormenting the prostrate 
monarch, aged fifty-four. He kept him without sufficient 
food, so that the old emperor was obliged to sell his boots 
in order to procure bread. Henry IV. had formerly richly 
endowed the cathedral of Speyer, and he entreated the 
haughty prelate to grant him a prebend, to supply his 
necessities. The meek request was scornfully refused. He 
was forbidden the use of a bath and of a barber to shave 
him, and even of a priest to confess him. At length he 
found means of escaping into Lorraine, where he was offered 
a refuge by the bishop of Lidge and the count of Limburg. 
His rebel son pursued him, but was defeated on the Meuse. 
The old king died at Li^ge, after solemnly pardoning his 
son, in token of which he sent him his sword and ring. But 
the animosity of the prelates followed him after death. They 
forced Bishop Albert of Lidge, who had buried him in the 
church of S. Lambert with imperial honours, to dig him up 
and lay him in unconsecrated ground, where an aged pilgrim 
from Jerusalem for several years watched over his tomb. In 
1 1 1 1, his body was brought to Speyer, but the bishop refused 
to allow Divine service to be performed over it, placed the 

Dec. 4.] 

S. Anno. 41 

bones in an unconsecrated chapel, and put to penance those 
who had taken part in the ceremony. 

We have seen a good deal of the doings of Archbishop 
Anno, but we have not seen all that darkens his character. 
A saint he has been regarded because he fasted, and prayed, 
and saw visions, but there was little of sanctity of the truest 
and noblest description in this ambitious and revengeful 
prelate. As has been already shown, he left no stone un- 
turned for acquiring wealth, possessions, and power, whilst 
he was self-constituted guardian of Henry IV. Amongst 
other abbeys which attracted his rapacity was that of 
Malmedy; and he obtained it for himself from the king. 
But the abbot of Stablo (Stavloo) claimed the abbey of 
Malmedy as belonging to Stablo, as it certainly did, and 
Abbot Dietrich loudly and vehemently protested at this 
infringement of his rights. His protests were not listened 
to, for the young king was wholly in the hands of the arch- 
bishop, and Frederick, duke of Nether Lorraine, the pro- 
tector of Stablo, was either not powerful enough or interested 
enough in the quarrel to reverse the donation made to 
S. Anno. 

The abbot was invited to the royal court at Tribur, near 
the Rhine, above Mayence, and when he remonstrated at 
the separation of Malmedy from Stablo he was arrested. 
However, he persisted in asserting his right, and was at 
length hberated. In vain had the abbot expended the 
treasures of his church in presents to the courtiers and to 
the king himself; in vain also had he procured a brief from 
the Pope in his favour : Anno remained in possession, and 
boldly affirmed that he would not surrender it even were 
the patron of the house, S. Remade, still alive. As the 
abbot had tried every ordinary means to recover his rights 
to Malmedy, and they had failed, he had recourse to a 
singular expedient, prompted by despair. 

42 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 4. 

King Henry had summoned a diet at Lidge in 107 1. The 
Abbot Dietrich betook himself thither with all his monks 
in solemn procession, carrying the bones of the blessed 
Remade, and these he laid on the table before the king as 
he sat at banquet with his lords and prelates. Henry was 
startled, and gave a solemn assurance to the abbot that he 
would investigate the claims of Stablo at the diet. The 
abbot urged an immediate examination. Archbishop Anno, 
who sat at the right hand of the emperor at table, rose, and 
angrily advised the king not to let himself be turned into 
ridicule by the monks. The king left the table, unable to 
proceed with his meal in such close proximity to the august 
reUcs of the saint, and the abbot refused to remove the 
bones from the banquet table till right was done him. In 
the meantime the crowd that had followed the procession 
poured into the hall and shouted frantically for justice. A 
few miraculous cures happening on the spot still further 
excited the mob. Anno stormed, and swore that the mira- 
cles were impostures, but the people would not attend to 
his words, and when the king saw that the temper of the 
people would not brook opposition, he promised to confirm 
the rights of the abbot of Stablo to Malmedy, and threatened 
Anno with his displeasure if he did not peaceably restore 
Malmedy to the monks, and assured him, in the event of his 
neglecting to comply with his orders, that he would wrest 
the abbey from him by force. 

Then the monks returned in triumph to their cloister, 
bearing the bones of their patron, and the king resumed his 
seat, and continued his meal. 

In 1074, Archbishop Anno celebrated Easter at Cologne, 
and Bishop Frederick of Miinster was his guest. On the 
day of the bishop's departure, S. Anno sent his servants to 
the Rhine to prepare a vessel for the accommodation of the 
bishop. The servants took the ship of a rich merchant. 

I>ec. 4.] 

S. Anno. 43 

and ordered the sailors to unlade it of all the wares. The 
sailors refused, and the merchant's son, a bold young man, 
much esteemed in Cologne for his excellent qualities, called 
his friends to his assistance and drove off the archbishop's 
servants and the town constable, who had been summoned 
to their assistance. The constable called out the merce- 
naries, and there would have been a bloody skirmish had not 
the archbishop threatened with his ban whoever broke the 
peace. S. Anno was far too haughty to bear with equanimity 
the refusal of the vessel to his servants. Next feast of 
S. George he ascended the pulpit and rebuked in most 
violent terms the audacity of the city in refusing him the 
vessel, and declared that if the citizens did not do penance 
therefor, they would become the prey of Satan and all his 
devils. The merchant's son, who was present during the 
sermon, was highly incensed. He hurried to his friends, 
stirred up the people, reminded them of the citizens of 
Worms, who, without being as powerful and wealthy as 
those of Cologne, had driven away their bishop when he 
had taken part against the emperor, and urged the good 
folk of Cologne to do the same. Many young men, appren- 
tices and sons of merchants, joined him, and attacked the 
archbishop's palace, where, at the moment, S. Anno was 
banqueting with the bishop of Miinster and his friends. 
The mob broke the windows, penetrated into the courtyard, 
and threw stones into the hall. The servants of the arch- 
bishop were killed or driven back. 

Whilst the Cologne mob was storming the palace, the 
servants of the bishops conveyed the two prelates by a 
secret passage into the cathedral, and locked and barricaded 
the doors. A moment after, the mob burst into the palace, 
and sacked it from the attics to the cellars. Some stove in 
the barrels and let the rich wine flow away ; others carried 
off all the costly goods they could lay hands on. Such an 

44 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 4. 

abundance of wine was let out, that the cellar was flooded, 
and several men were drowned in it. A servant, mistaken 
for the archbishop in the scuffle, was murdered; but when 
it was discovered that the saintly archbishop had taken 
refuge in the cathedral, the people streamed towards it, 
surrounded it, and threatened to fire it unless the obnoxious 
prelate was given up. But the night was far spent, and 
Anno took advantag.e of the darkness to disguise himself in 
a lay dress, and to escape out of the cathedral and take 
refuge in the house of one of his servants, to whom he had 
shortly before accorded permission to break a doorway 
through the city walls from his house, which was built 
against them. Through the door he fled the town, and 
escaped his enemies. He met the bishop of Miinster and 
his servants with horses awaiting him, and he escaped to 
Neuss. In the meantime, the rioters were storming the 
minster, and breaking open the doors with sledge hammers. 
The servants within pretended that they were searching for 
the prelate, but could not find him, and when they felt 
satisfied that he was safe, they threw open the door, and the 
mob rushed in to seek him themselves. 

After the people had satisfied themselves that the arch- 
bishop was not there, they locked the city gates, and sent 
a deputation to the emperor, who was then quarrelling with 
Anno, to inform him that they had been forced to maintain 
the honour of their city against the archbishop, and that 
they requested Henry to take possession of Cologne. 

But the news had spread through all the electorate, and 
the peasants, who had a great veneration for the sanctity and 
liberality of their archbishop, rose in his support against 
the citizens, with whom there had been a long-standing 
jealousy. S. Anno soon found himself at the head of an 
army, and he at once marched against his capital. The 
citizens, alarmed at the promptitude and power of the pre- 

Dec. 4.j 

.S. Anno. 45 

late, sent an embassy to him, asking pardon, and promising 
amendment. The archbishop answered that he would not 
withhold forgiveness. He sang a High Mass at S. Gereon's, 
which was then outside the city walls, and after it ordered 
as a preliminary that all those who had taken part in the 
insurrection should be put to penance. They accordingly 
appeared before him barefoot, in white sheets, and he had 
the greatest difficulty to restrain the peasants from falling 
upon them. He then commanded all to appear the next 
day in S. Peter's church, and hear his ultimate decision. 
The night he spent in prayer in S. Gereon's church. 

The citizens of Cologne were not at ease, for clemency 
was not a distinguishing feature in his saintly character, and 
during the night six hundred of the wealthiest burghers fled 
for protection to the emperor. In the meantime the ser- 
vants of Anno entered the city, and pillaged the houses 
and murdered the citizens who resisted them ; but this was 
without Anno*s knowledge, he was busy praying among the 
bones of the Theban martyrs, and knew nothing of what 
was taking place among his living subjects. 

Anno's final judgment, after long prayer, was thsCt the 
young merchant and many of his companions should have 
their eyes plucked out, that many others should be publicly 
whipped, and that others should be expelled the city. All 
who remained in the city were to take oaths of allegiance to 
the archbishop. 

Although the people of Cologne were certainly guilty of 
insurrection, yet unquestionably Anno was to blame in 
forcing them to it, and his savage reprisals led to most dis- 
astrous results. The city, which, like Mainz, had been the 
mogt populous aild wealthiest of the German cities, was 
suddenly reduced to desolation. The streets were empty, 
the houses fell into ruin, and the markets were deserted. 

With what bloody severity S. Anno administered justice 

46 Lives of the Saints. p^c. 4. 

may be gathered from another instance. A widow com- 
plained to him that the magistrates had given wrong judg- 
ment against her. The archbishop summoned the magis- 
trates before him to Siegburg, where he held his court, and 
finding that the widow's appeal was just, he had all the magis- 
trates blinded except one who was his own kinsman. There 
were seven whose eyes were plucked out ; and by the arch- 
bishop's orders stone heads without eyes were built into the 
walls of their houses as a witness to all the town of his 
uncompromising love of justice. 

He set priests to acts as spies at night, and watch for 
men who followed women of loose character. These men 
he seized, shaved their heads, and publicly branded them. 

Anno is renowned for several miracles. Perhaps the 
most interesting of them is the following. He was one day 
saying Mass, and had just come to the fraction of the Host, 
when a fly buzzed up, and carried off a particle.^ The 
horror of the saint cannot be expressed in words. He grew 
deadly pale, his blood froze in his veins, his conscience 
smarted for his incaution, and in an agony of remorse, and 
a tempest of groans and tears, he prayed that the fly might 
restore what it had taken. Scarcely had he done praying,, 
when the insect returned, deposited the particle on the 
paten, then fell over on its back, was convulsed, and died 
miserably.* - 

He had visions. In the church of S. Gereon lay, some- 
what disregarded, the bones of three hundred and sixty 
martyred Moors. When S. Gereon and the Theban legion 
had been put to death at Cologne and Xanten, a legion of 
Moors had been sent to the Rhine to supply their places. 
But on their arrival, it occurred to the authorities to inquire 

* *' Imago dsemoniorum, musca videlicet spurcissima visu nauseam gen6rans im- 
petu super corpus Domini ruiti ereptamque morsu particulam, cum maximo dolore 
sacerdotis avolans exportavit'* 

3 " Seorsum super altare ruit exanimis, dignam tanti fiagitii poenam luens." 

Dec. 4.] 

kS. Anno. 47 

into their religious convictions, and they found to their 
■disgust that the empire had again been put to the expense 
and trouble of conveying to Germany a band of Christian 
soldiers. They were accordingly also put to death. The 
people of Cologne were certainly not kept short of relics ; 
they had the bones of the eleven thousand virgins, and of 
S. Gereon with his three hundred and ten companions. 
They might therefore be excused, one would have thought^ 
if they somewhat overlooked the merits of the black martyrs. 
However, these latter were not disposed to be treated with 
indifference. One night S. Anno saw himself in vision in 
the church of S. Gereon, in the midst of a council of negro 
saints, whom he would probably have mistaken for devils, 
but for the aureoles about their heads. The martyrs com- 
plained of the neglect of the prelates and people of Cologne, 
and resolved by acclamation to make the present occupant 
of the see suffer for it. The three hundred and sixty there- 
upon fell on Anno, pummelled and lashed him, till the 
breath was all but beaten out of his body. AVhen he woke,, 
aching in all his bones — no doubt with rheumatism — he 
resolved to give the holy Moors the respect and devotion 
they demanded. The church of S. Gereon was then cir- 
cular. He added a nave, and enlarged the crypt, and 
magnificently enshrined the black saints. 

On his way to Salfeld, in Thuringia, riding in his car, he 
was rapt in vision, and became so big and heavy with the 
mysteries revealed to him, that his attendants were obliged 
to yoke sixteen horses to the conveyance to get it along.* 

Just before his last illness, in vision he saw himself in a 
magnificent mansion surrounded with thrones, all occupied 
by the great bishops and saints of the German Church. One 
throne was vacant, and Anno went forward to take it. Then 

* " Sillich mancraft ihn uuvieng, daz man sescein ros ci demo wagine spien." — 
Annolied, 41. 

48 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 4. 

up rose Arnold of Worms and forbade him, saying that he 
was not destined to occupy the seat till he had purged his 
conscience from the stain that defiled it. Anno looked 
round, and saw the same prohibition on the faces of Bardus 
of Mainz, of Boppo and Eberhard of Treves, and of Cunibert 
of Cologne. Then the vision faded, and when he woke and 
considered the matter, it occurred to him that he had 
nourished a bitter, revengeful temper towards the citizens of 
Cologne since their outbreak. He resolved to overcome it. 
He went to Siegburg, and was there laid up with gout in his 
left foot. The gout spread up his leg. He thought he saw 
a wicked little black devil at his side pinching his tortured 
limb, and he screamed for holy water wherewith to drive 
the demon away. The gout reached his stomach, and he 
died, forgiving the people of Cologne, and ordering his money 
to be distributed among the poor. 

(a.d. 1099.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Sarum Kalendar. At Seez on Dec. 5. 
Canonized by Calixtus III. in 1459. Authority : — William of Malmes- 
bury, De Pontiff. Angl. lib. ii.; **Canonizatio S. Osmundi Sarisbu- 
riensis ep.," in Acta SS. Boll, i Jan. i. p. 77.] 

S. Osmund was by birth a Norman, Count of Seez, and 
kinsman of William the Conqueror, with whom he came 
over to England, and by whom he was created Earl of 
Dorset and Chancellor of England. In 1077 he was chosen 
to succeed Hereman as bishop of Salisbury, and he com- 
pleted the cathedral which Hereman had begun. As a 
bishop, Osmund appears to have retired much from the 
world, and to have lived chiefly in the society of the learned 
canons whom he had drawn together by his liberality. He 

Dec. 4.] 

S. Osmund. 49 

collected for his church a noble library ; and it is stated, as 
a proof of his humility, that he not only copied books him- 
self, but that he also bound them with his own hands. He 
placed thirty-six canons in the cathedral, which he dedi- 
cated to the Blessed Virgin, in 1092. Thf church was 
struck by lightning aud much injured, but he had the satis- 
faction of repairing it before he died. He is said to have 
written a Life of S. Anselm, which is not now extant. Find- 
ing- that great confusion reigned in England through the 
Norman clergy endeavouring to force their continental prac- 
tices on the English Church, Osmund drew up a ritual for 
the church of Sarum, on -strictly conservative principles, 
retaining old usages, and introducing few novelties. A 
13th century MS. of this valuable work exists in Salisbury 
Cathedral Library. S. Osmund died on the night between 
the 3rd and 4th of December, 1099. His bones still lie at 
Salisbury, under a plain monument. 

^V rA^ !^, 



Lives of the Saints. 

[Dec. 5. 

December 5. 

S. Bassus, B.M. at Nice ; yd cent. 

S. Crispina, M. at Thebeste in Africa; a.d. 304. 

SS. Julius, Potamia, and Othbrs, MM. at Tkagara in Africa; 

A.D. 304. 
S. Dalmatius, B.M. at Pavia ; a.d. 304. 
S. Pelinus, B.M. of Brindes; A.D. 362. 
S. Sabas, Ab. at Metalala in Cappadocia; a.d. 531. 
S. NicETius, B. ofTrtoes; a.d. 566. 
S. John the Wonderworker, C. at Polyboium in Asia Minor; 

8tA cent. 
S. Gerald, Ab/. of Braga in Portugal; a.d. 1109. 

(A.D. 304.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Carthaginian Kalendar. Some copies of 
Mart, of Jerome, as Crispinus ; Usuardus, Ado, &c. Authorities: — S. 
Augustine on Ps. cxxxvii., and another sermon on Ps. cxx., and the 
genuine and trustworthy Acts in Ruinart.] 

O many of the Acts of Martyrs are forgeries, or have 
been amplified by later hands, that it is a pleasure 
to come upon those which are undoubtedly genuine. 
Such are the Acts of S. Crispina, and they shall 
be given unaltered, or only slightly abbreviated. 

When Diocletian and Maximian were consuls, on the nones 
of December, at Thebeste, where Anulinus was pro-consul, 
the clerk of the court said, in the tribunal of justice, " Cris- 
pina, of Thagara, who has disregarded the imperial com- 
mands, if it please you, shall be heard." 

Anulinus the judge said, " Let her be brought in." 

Then the blessed Crispina was introduced. 

Anulinus the pro-consul said, " Have you heard the 

Dec. 5.] 

6*. Crispina. 51 

decree ?" The blessed Crispina replied, "I know not what 
that decree is." Anulinus said, " It is to this effect, that 
you should sacrifice to all the gods for the welfare of the 

Crispina, " I will never sacrifice, except to the One God 
and to our Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, who was bom and 

Anulinus. " Put away this superstition, and bow to the 
worship of our gods." 

Crispina, "I daily worship my God, and I know no 

Anulinus, "You are hard and audacious, and will call 
down on you the severity of the law." 

Crispina, " Come what may, I will suffer for my faith." 

Anulinus, " You will lose your head if you do not obey 
the commands of the emperors; all Africa has submitted, 
and you shall be made to do so." 

Crispina, " I will sacrifice to the Lofd who made heaven 
and earth, the sea and all things that are therein, but never 
shall I be forced to do sacrifice to demons." 

Anulinus, "Then those gods will not be accepted by 
you to whom you are forced to give honour to save your 

Crispina, "True worship does not use compulsion." * 

Anulinus, "But will you not formally, with bent head, 
ofier a little incense in the sacred temples ? " 

Crispina, " I have never done this since my birth, and 
I will not do so as long as I live." 

Anulinus, " Do it, however, just to escape the severity of 
the laws." 

Crispina, " I have no fear for the event. But I fear God, 
who, if I obeyed, would cast me off as sacrilegious." 

* This noble sentiment thus stands, *' Nulla devotio est, quae opprimi coegit 

52 . Lives of the Saints. [Dec. s. 

Anulinus, " You cannot be sacrilegious if you obey the 

Crispina. " Would you have me sacrilegious before God, 
that I might not be so before the emperors ? God is great 
and omnipotent : He made the sea, and the green herbs, and 
the dry earth. How can I prefer His creatures to Him- 

Anulinus ordered her hair to be cut off, and her head 
shaved. As she remained unmoved, he said, " Do you wish 
to live, or persist in your intention to die, like Maxima, 
Donatilla, and Secunda,^ your companions?" 

Crispina answered, " If I wished to die, and give over my 
soul to destruction, I should do to your demons what you 

Anulinus said, " I will cut off your head if you persist in 
mocking our venerable deities." 

Crispina replied, "I should indeed lose my head if I took 
to worshipping them." 

Anulinus the pro-consul said, " You persist, then, in this 

Crispina answered, " My God, who is, and was. He 
ordered me to be bom ; He gave me salvation by the water 
of Holy Baptism ; He is with me, to support my soul, and 
stay it from committing sacrilege as you desire." 

Anulinus said, " We can endure this impious Crispina no 

The acts of the trial were read over, and then Anulinus 
gave command that Crispina should suflfer by the sword. 

Crispina exclaimed, " I give praise to Christ, I bless the 
Lord, who has thus deigned to deliver me out of your 

She suffered at Thebeste on the nones of December. 

■ In Ado's Martyrology on July 30, but said to have suffered at Tuburbo. 

Dec. 5.] 

S. Sabas. 53 

(A.D. 531.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Greek Menseas and Menologies, Menology 
of Basil, Russian Kalendar. Authority : — A Life by Cyril of Scytho- 
polis, written in 557; in Cotelerius, Mon. Eccl. Grsecae, iii. pp. 220-376.] 

S. Sabas was bom at Mutalasca in Cappadocia, in the year 
437. His father, John Conon, and his mother Sophia were 
both of illustrious family. John followed the profession of 
arms, and being obliged to go with his legion to Alexandria, 
and unable to take his child with him, he left the little Sabas 
to the care of his brother Hermias. Sabas remained with 
his uncle till he was eight, and then, unable to endure the 
temper of his aunt, ran away to another uncle, a priest named 
Gregory, who lived at Scandos, not far from Mutalasca. This 
gave rise to angry recriminations between the brothers, and 
contests about the property of the father of Sabas. The boy, 
sick at heart at the discord, retired, before he was nine years 
old, to the monastery of Flavianum, where he occupied him- 
self in learning the Psalter by "heart. One day the baker of 
the monastery got wet through in a shower, and he put his 
clothes to dry in the oven. The other monks, not knowing 
this, lighted the fires to heat the oven, intending to do some 
baking. The baker came in and found, to his dismay, that 
his clothes had not been removed. However, Sabas daringly 
scrambled into the oven, and pulled them out. The monks 
admired the pluck of the boy, and in after years, when Sabas 
became famous, magnified the incident into a miracle. After 
ten years spent in this monastery^ Sabas went to that of 
Bessarion, governed by S. Elpidius, but was thought too 
young to remain in it, and was sent further, to S. Theoctistus. 
This abbot sent him on business into Egypt, where he met 

54 L i'^^ of ^^^ Saints. [Dec. s. 

his father and mother. They naturally desired him to quit 
the monastic life, enter the army, and live with them, but he 
refused, and returned to Palestine. 

When Sabas was aged thirty, he retired into a cavern, but 
appeared every Sabbath ^ and Lord's day at the monastery 
church to assist at the sacred mysteries. 

S. Euthymius chose him as his companion in his yearly 
retreats into the desert of Ruban. In one of these wander- 
ings in the wilderness, Sabas discovered a cavern in the face 
of a precipice that overhung the brook Cedron. He reached 
it with some difficulty, and then hung a cord from the mouth, 
by which he was enabled to ascend to it and descend from 
it. He was aged forty when he retired to the cavern, and by 
the end of five years he saw himself surrounded by seventy 
disciples, whom he lodged in caves near him. He had 
much difficulty, however, in obtaining a supply of water, as 
that of Cedron was not drinkable ; but one moonlight night 
he saw a wild ass pawing the gravelly soil at a distance from 
the brook, and, when it had made a hole, drinking the water 
that filtered through the gravel and sand into the place. 
This was a hint to Sabas, and he opened a well at the spot, 
and found a sufficiency of potable water. In one of his 
rambles among the rocks of the desert he came on an 
ancient sculptured cave-temple, and it struck him that it 
might serve eventually as a- church. His disciples had be- 
come a hundred and fifty, and could not be accommodated 
in the simple oratory he had built on first entering the wilder- 
ness. He now built himself a tower above the rock, and 
pierced a passage, which wound down into the old temple, 
and he used it as his private chapel, till Sallust, patriarch 
of Jerusalem, ordained him priest, and consecrated the old 

* Both the Sabbath and the Lord's Day were long observed in the EUistem and 
Egyptian Churches. The offices of the Latin Church show traces of the ancient ob- 
servance of the Saturday as a holy day in the West as well. 

Dec. 5.] 

S, Sabas. 55 

pagan temple as a church (a.d. 490). Sabas retired from 
the throng of monks for long tracts of time, into remote parts 
of the desert. On one occasion he tumbled into a pit of 
boiling sulphur and gypsum in the volcanic district of the 
Dead Sea, and was so severely scalded that he could not get 
over it, and his face was for some time disfigured. Once he 
resolved boldly to occupy a rock which it was alleged was 
haunted. When, however, he came to take up his abode in 
it, he found that the rents of the cliff were haunted, not by 
devils, but by innumerable ravens and crows, which flew 
screaming and croaking round their invaded home. In the 
desert he was praying one night, whilst his disciple slept 
on the sand. By the moonlight a great lion came up, and 
sniffed at the sleeping man. Sabas uttered a loud cry to God 
for help, and the king of the beasts ran scared away, with- 
out doing any injury to either of the hermits. On another 
occasion, Sabas lay down to sleep in a cavern, which was the 
lair of a lion. The beast came in full gorged from a meal, 
when Sabas was asleep, and taking the old man*s habit in his 
teeth, dragged Sabas outside. The monk awoke, and making 
the sign of the cross, got up, and crept back into the cave, 
lay down and went to sleep again. Not long after he found 
the lion again pulling at his clothes. Sabas sat up, and said, 
" If you do not care to share your lair with me, go and seek 
a separate one for yourself, and let me sleep in peace." The 
lion left him alone, and departed. Next morning Sabas 
abandoned the cavern. 

The raven rock so delighted him that he resolved to estab- 
lish on it a monastery. It was the site of an old Roman 
fortress, and still bore the name of Castellum. Among the 
ruins was a well-preserved hall, which with little trouble 
could be converted into a church. He carried thither a 
swarm of brothers from his own monastery, and placed over 
them a favourite monk, named Paul. Among his disciples 

56 Lives of the Saints. [Decs. 

were Egyptians and Armenians; he made each sing the 
offices, and celebrate the mysteries, in his own tongue; but 
he required the Armenians to chant the Trisagion in Greek, 
because he found that some were disposed to add the para- 
graph of Peter the Fuller, " Who was crucified for us," as 
applying to the whole Trinity, and thus to renew the heresy 
of Sabellius. He built two infirmaries at Castellum, a hospital 
near Jerusalem, and another at Jericho. 

About forty of his disciples had complained to the patri- 
arch Sallust that the long absences of Sabas rendered him 
incompetent to act as abbot to so large a community, but 
had been dismissed with reproof. The number of the dis- 
contented increased, and during one of the long disappear- 
ances of the abbot, sixty of the monks left his laura,^ and 
established themselves in the desert of Thecua. On the re- 
turn of Sabas, he heard, not only of this migration, but also 
that the malcontents were very badly off. He at once went 
to them, and, without rebuking them, built them a church, 
obtained for them a grant of land, and furnished them with 
food and money. 

As Eutychianism was making great inroads among the 
religious of Palestine, the patriarch constituted him head of 
all the ascetics or solitaries in the deserts, and Theoctistus 
he appointed cenobiarch, supreme over all the monasteries. 

One day Sabas was walking from Jericho to the Jordan 
with a young monk, his disciple, when they passed some 
travellers, amongst whom was a very handsome girl. 

" Who was that one-eyed young woman ? " asked S. Sabas 
of his companion. 

" She was not one-eyed," said the young ascetic. 

" You mistake, surely," persisted the abbot. 

" No, father ; I know she has two eyes," said the monk, 

* A laura was a monastery of separate cells. Those inhabiting a laura were called 
" anchorites ;" those in a monastery, " cenobites/* 

Dec. 5.] 

^y. Sabas. 57 

" for I particularly observed them, and very beautiful eyes 
they are/' 

'* Oh, indeed ! you particularly looked into the girl's eyes, 
did you ?" exclaimed Sabas. And he added, " Depart from 
me, you are not suited to become a monk in my monastery." 

Sabas was involved against his will in the troubles about 
Severus, patriarch of Antioch. Severus had embraced Euty- 
chianism, and denounced those who held by the Council of 
Chalcedon as Nestorians. The Emperor Anastasius favoured 
Eutychianism, and had deposed Macedonius from the patri- 
archate of Constantinople, and put Timothy in his room 
(a.d. 511), who sent synodal letters to the bishops of the 
East Elias of Jerusalem and Flavian of Antioch refused 
to approve of the deposition of Macedonius, though they did 
not denounce Timothy, whom they believed to be orthodox. 

The emperor was highly incensed against Elias, who had 
hovered between condemning and approving the Council of 
Chalcedon, and shrank from committing himself to a course 
which would involve him either in heresy or in the hostility 
of Anastasius. Half measures did not satisfy the emperor.* 
Elias sent S. Sabas with other venerable abbots to Constan- 
tinople to intercede for him with the emperor. 

All the abbots were admitted to the imperial presence 
except Sabas, whom the guards took to be a beggar, from 
his ragged appearance. The letter of Elias was read to 
Anastasius, in which he mentioned Sabas in terms of eu- 
logy. The emperor asked where he was. He was discovered 
without, in a comer, repeating psalms. The old man, bent, 
with habit rudely patched, and ragged white hair, hobbled 
from behind the purple curtain that hung over the door. 
The emperor rose to meet him, and then requested the abbots 
to seat themselves. They all began to clamour for gifts; 
one wanted a piece of land, another money. Sabas asked 

* See about Flavian and -Elias, July 4, pp. 99-105. 

58 Lives of the Saints. 

[Dec. s. 

for nothing, save that the emperor would leave the Church 
alone, and not meddle with her bishops. Sabas spent the 
winter in Constantinople, and returned to the East in May. 
He visited his native place of Mutalasca on his way, and 
converted his paternal mansion into a church. 

A council was held on his return, at Sidon; Elias of Jeru- 
salem and Flavian of Antioch were present, as well as Severus, 
whom the emperor had intruded on the see of Flavian. 
Elias refused to receive the synodal letters of Severus, and 
the emperor sent Olympius, duke of Palestine, to banish 
Elias from Jerusalem, and replace him with John, who had 
promised to anathematize the Council of Chalcedon. Sabas 
hastened to Jerusalem, and standing on Calvary with other 
abbots, pronounced anathema against Severus, and those who 
communicated with him. When John was installed in the 
patriarchal chair, Sabas so instantly. urged him not to de- 
nounce the Council of Chalcedon, that he agreed not to do 
so, and to refuse communion with Severus of Antioch. 

On a given day ten thousand monks assembled in the 
church of S. Stephen, as that of the Resurrection was too 
small to receive the crowd; and there John, with Sabas, head 
of the Anchorites on the one hand, and Theodosius, head of 
the Cenobites on the other, stood in the ambone, and all 
three pronounced anathema on Nestorius, Eutyches, and 

Elias was visited in his exile by Sabas, who also was pre- 
sent at his death. Anastasius died about the same time, and 
Justinian, who succeeded him, befriended the orthodox, and 
eagerly persecuted heretics. 

The reign of Justinian was, indeed, a uniform yet various 
scene of persecution- Heretics were allowed three months 
in which to feel or feign conviction, and if too honourable to 
embrace tenets which they could not believe, were cruelly 
and relentlessly banished and plundered. The churches of 

Dec. S-3 

^y. Sabas. 59 

the Montanists were given up to flames, and the unhappy 
heretics, rather than abandon their hysterical ravings, perished 
in the fires. The Jews, who had been gradually stripped 
of their immunities, were oppressed by a vexatious law which 
compelled them to observe the feast of the Passover at the 
same time as the Christian Easter. The Samaritans of 
Palestine were a motley race, an ambiguous sect, rejected 
as Jews by the Pagans, by the Jews as schismatics, and by 
the Christians as unbelievers. The Emperor Zeno had built 
a church, and placed a garrison on Mount Gerizim. Under 
Anastasius, the Samaritans surprised the fort and church ; 
and when the Emperor Justinian showed himself ready to 
persecute to the death, they rose in revolt, set up a rival 
emperor, killed a bishop, and cut to pieces several priests. 
Justinian sent the regular forces of the East against them ; 
twenty thousand were massacred, twenty thousand were sold 
as slaves, and the remains of that unhappy nation purchased 
safety by submitting with disgust and disbelief to baptism. 
It has been computed that one hundred thousand Roman 
subjects were extirpated in this Samaritan war, in the exten- 
sion of the kingdom of the Prince of Peace. But, as Proco- 
pius observes, — " It is not murder to massacre unbelievers." 
The devout and orthodox Christians of Scythopolis having 
caught a Samaritan of rank named Sylvanus, who incau- 
tiously ventured himself among Christians, emulated the 
enthusiasm and zeal of their emperor by burning him alive 
in their market-place. But Sylvanus was a Roman citizen, 
and had powerful relations. His son Arsenius went to Con- 
stantinople and appealed to the emperor for redress. Then 
Peter, patriarch of Jerusalem, and other bishops of Palestine, 
deputed S. Sabas to go to Justinian and obtain immunity for 
the enthusiasts yyho had burned Sylvanus, and demand the 
execution of a few more obnoxious Samaritans, and the re- 
lief of the province from certain taxes which could not well be 

6o Lives of the Saints. ^^ ^ 

paid on account of the injury done by the Samaritan revolt. 
S. Sabas was received by the emperor with the highest honour, 
galleys were sent to meet him, he was presented before the 
emperor by Hypatius of Ephesus, and Justinian cast him- 
self at the feet of the old hermit to receive his blessing. 
S. Sabas was so successful in his mission, that he obtained 
orders from the emperor for the execution both of the unfor- 
tunate Arsenius, who had objected to his father's being 
burned alive, and also of all the chiefs of the Samaritans 
who had made themselves obnoxious to the bishops of 
Palestine. The emperor decreed, also, that the Samaritans 
should be forbidden assembling for religious worship, enter- 
ing any public office, and enjoying any inheritance from 
their parents. Arsenius found that his only chance of life 
was to submit with rage in his heart to the mockery of 
baptism by the hands of S. Sabas. 

Justinian sent for -Sabas, before the saint returned to the 
East, to ask him what he could do for him. " Nothing,'* 
replied the holy abbot, *' except deliver the Church from the 
Arians, Nestorians, and Origenists." 

Justinian gladly promised to do his best to extirpate them. 
He hastened to confiscate the goods of the Arian churches. 

It is curious to note that this persecuting emperor himself 
died a heretic. Nicetius, bishop of Treves, wrote to the 
emperor when he was dying, "Unless you destroy what you 
have taught, and exclaim, * I have erred, I have sinned ; 
anathema to Nestorius, anathema to Eutyches,' you deliver 
your soul to the same flames in which they will eternally 
bum." He died in his heresy^ 

S. Sabas, on his return, published the letters of the em- 
peror ; the patriarch and other bishops went to Scythopolis, 
Caesarea, &c., and proclaimed the decision of Justinian, and 
saw to the execution of its infamous requirements. Sabas 
went back to his laura, and died there shortly- after. 

Decs.] S.Nzcetius. 6 1 

(a.d. 566.) 

[Roman Martyrology. The Martyrologies of Bede and Usuardus on 
Oct. I. Authority: — Gregory of Tours, De Vitse Patrum, c. 17; De 
Gloria Confessorum, c. 94. His own letters.] 

NiCETius came into the world with a fringe of hair about 
his head, and it was therefore supposed that he was pre- 
destined to the religious life. He was educated in a 
monastery and became its abbot.^ King Thierry held him 
in high respect because he boldly rebuked the king for what 
he did amiss, and on the see of Treves falling vacant in 
527, Thierry had him consecrated to it, with the consent of 
the clergy and people. 

On his way to Treves, before his consecration, the officers 
of the king, when camping for the night, turned their horses 
out into the cornfields of th6 peasants. Nicetius at once 
interfered. " Remove your horses from the fields of these 
poor people," he said, " or I shall excommunicate you all." 
" Ha !" said the officers, " You are not yet bishop, and you 
excommunicate us !" 

"The king," answered Nicetius, "has* drawn me, a poor 
abbot, from my quiet cloister, to set me over this people,^ 
and by God's grace I will do my duty by them and protect 
them from wrong and robbery." And he went himself into 
the fields and drove the horses out. 

Theodebert succeeded Thierry (a.d. 534), and Nicetius 
was obliged to show great firmness towards this prince also, 
to check the violence committed against the weak, and 
to restrain the licentious nobles of the court. One day that 

1 This was his advice to his monks ; — " Avoid scurrility and idle talk, for as the 
body should,be kept pure, so should talk be decent. A man may fall in three Mrays — 
by what he thinks, by what he says, and by what he does/' 

62 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 5 

Theodebert entered the church at Treves, a madman began to 
howl out that Theodebert was an adulterer and a ravager of 
the popr. The king begged the saint to stop the disturbance. 
Nicetius answered, "Let the adulterers, murderers, and 
robbers of thy train, sire, be expelled the church, and then 
I can cast the devil out of this poor mad fellow." 

He preached almost daily to the people, denouncing by 
name all wrong-doers, especially the nobles and princes who 
ill-used the poor, utterly indifferent to his own safety, so long 
as he could save his poor people from oppression. Clothair, 
who came to the throne in 554, called down the excommu- 
nication of the intrepid bishop on his head, and the king 
revenged himself by sending Nicetius into banishment 
(a.d. 561). But Clothair died immediately, and the bishop 
was recalled by Sigebert. 

That the morals of the people of Treves were as bad as 
bad could be, is evident from the city becoming a prey to a 
shameful malady, which, indeed, ravaged Gaul in the 6th 
century, and which made its first appearance in 546. To 
this Gregory of Tours alludes again and again. It was fatal, 
and the city suffered terribly. One night it was reported 
that voices of demons had been heard on the bridge of the 
Moselle, saying, " What can we do ? Maximinus guards one 
gate, Eucherius the other, and Nicetius keeps watch in the 
centre. We can prevail no longer." After that the plague 
ceased, and, it is to be hoped, the morals of Treves mended. 

A dream of S. Nicetius is recorded. He saw a tall tower, 
with angels guarding it, and an angel stood on it with a book 
in his hand, and he read out of it as he turned over the 
pages the names, qualities, and length of reign of all the 
kings of France, that had been, were, and would be, to the 
end of the monarchy. And after declaring the name and 
quality of each king, the other angels cried. Amen. 

S. Nicetius attended the Council of Clermont held at the 

D«C, 5-] 

S. Nicetius. 63 

beginnmg of the reign of Theodebert, the sth Council of 
Orleans, in 549, and the and Council of Paris, in 551. 

He wrote to Clodesind, wife of Alboin, king of the 
Lombards, on the occasion of her sending ambassadors to 
her brothers the kings of the Franks, exhorting her to labour 
at the conversion of her husband from Arianism, and bidding 
her make him observe that miracles were wrought abundantly 
in Catholic churches, but none in those of the Arians. He 
also wrote to the Emperor Justinian, as already mentioned 
in the life of S. Sabas, Nicetius died shortly after writing 
this letter, and was succeeded by his disciple, S. Magncric. 

64 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 6. 

December 6. 

S. Nicolas, B. of Myra in Lycia ; ^th cent. 
S. AsELLA, V. at Rome; circ. a.d. 410. 


cius, AND Others, MM. in Africa; a.d. 484. 
S. Gertrude, W. Abss. of Hamage in Belgium; circ. a.d. 655. 
S. Peter Paschal, B. ofJaeH^ M. at Granada; a.d. 1300. 



[All Oriental Menaeas and Menologies. Roman Martyrology, Usiiar- 
dus, and all Western Martyrologies. The translation of his relics to 
Bari on May 9. Authorities : — A Life by Metaphrastes, and that in 
the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine.] 

iwm i| || i i NFORTUNATELY we have little or no trust- 
ri^S) I worthy information concerning the probably most 
KJB^l popular saint in Christendom. That he was 
-"""—^ bishop of Myra in the fourth century, is really all 
that we know for certain of him. But legend has supplied 
the deficiency with an abundant supply of material for the 
construction of an interesting, if fictitious, history of the 

He was bom at Patara, a town of Lycia, in Asia Minor. 
Directly he was born he was put in a basin to be washed, 
but, to the astonishment of the nurses, he stood up in the 
basin, and remained for two hours in an ecstasy, his hands 
clasped, and his eyes raised to heaven. Dionysius the 
Carthusian, not stopping to inquire whether this was true or 
not, argues from it that Nicolas was endued with reason from 
the moment of birth. He began to fast from his cradle. 

Dec. 6.] 

S. Nicolas. 65 

On Wednesdays and Fridays he refused nourishment from 
his nurse's breasts, except in the evening, after sundown, 
when he sucked vigorously. He lost his parents when 
young, and was left with a considerable fortune. One day 
he heard that the father of three maidens, being unable to 
provide them with a jointure, was going to send them on to 
the streets to pick up a disreputable living. Nicolas stole one 
evening past the house, and flung a bag of gold through the 
i^indow. The father then married honourably the eldest of 
his daughters. Soon after^ Nicolas threw in a second bag of 
gold, to serve as a marriage portion for the second daughter ; 
and afterwards a third sum, to assist the third maiden in 
finding a husband. But on this last occasion he was observed 
by the grateful father, who was on the watch. 

The three bags of gold have been converted into three 
gold balls, and serve as the emblem of pawnbrokers, who 
have chosen S. Nicolas as their patron. 

Nicolas was ordained priest, and set off on a voyage to 
the Holy Land. On his way, the ship that bore him was 
nearly wrecked, but by the prayers of Nicolas the storm was 
suppressed, and the waves controlled, so that the. vessel 
was enabled to reach Alexandria in safety. From that city 
he made his way to Jerusalem. On his way back by sea, 
the captain endeavoured to put into Alexandria instead of 
going to Lycia, but a violent storm prevented him, and he 
was obliged to deposit Nicolas at the port at which he 
desired to disembark. 

About A.D. 325 he was elected bishop of Myra. After 
his consecration, a woman brought into the church a child 
which had fallen into the fire and was burnt. Nicolas made 
the sign of the cross over it, and restored it to health. On 
this account he is invoked against fire. His power over 
tempests has caused him to be also invoked by sailors. He 
is thought to have been a confessor under Licinius. Tra- 
vel,. XII. F 

66 Lives of tlie Saints. \D^c,t. 

dition insists that he was present in the great council of 
Nicaea, and he is invariably represented among the assem- 
bled fathers, in the pictures of the council common in Eastern 
churches, though he is not mentioned as having been present 
by a single ancient historian. In that council were read 
the songs composed by Arius, under the title of Thalia, for 
the sake of popularizing his speculations with the lower 
orders. The songs were set to tunes, or written in metres, 
which had acquired a questionable reputation from their use 
in the licentious verses of the heathen poet Sotades, ordi- 
narily used in the low revels or dances of Alexandria; and 
the grave Arius himself is said, in moments of wild excite- 
ment, to have danced like an Eastern Dervish, whilst he 
sang these abstract statements in long straggling lines, of 
which about twenty are preserved to us. To us the chief 
surprise is that any enthusiasm should have been excited by 
sentences such as these, — " God was not always the Father ; 
once He was not the Father ; afterwards He became the 
Father." But, in proportion to the attraction which they 
possessed for the partisans of Arius, was the dismay they 
roused in the minds of those by whom the expressions which 
Arius thus lightly set aside were regarded as the watchwords 
of the ancient faith. The bishops, on hearing the song, 
raised their hands in horror, and, after the manner of 
Orientals, when wishing to express their disgust at blas- 
phemous words, kept their ears fast closed, and their eyes 
fast shut. It was doubtless at this point that occurred the 
incident embodied in legend, of the sudden outbreak of fury 
in Nicolas, bishop of Myra, who is represented in the tradi- 
tional pictures of the council as dealing a blow with all his 
force at Arius's jaw. It is this incident, real or imaginary, 
that gave some colour to the charge of violence brought by 
Peter Martyr against the Nicene fathers. But the story 
itself bears witness to the humane spirit which exalts this 

Dec, 6.] 

S. Nicolas. 67 

earliest council above its successors. The legend best 
known in the West goes on to say that for this intemperate 
act S. Nicolas was deprived of his mitre and pall, which 
were only restored to him long afterwards by the intervention 
of angels — /. e, of monks, interceding for the restitution. 
But in the East, the story assumes a more precise and 
polemical form. The council, it is said, on the appeal of 
Arius, imprisoned the bishop of Myra. But in prison, the 
Redeemer, whose honour he had vindicated, appeared with 
His Mother ; the One restored to him the Gospel, the other 
the pall, and with these credentials he claimed and obtained 
his freedom.^ 

He is said to have wrung from Eustathius, governor of 
Myra, the pardon of three men condemned to death and 
imprisoned in a tower. He was afterwards represented with 
this tower at his side, and three little men rising out of it. By 
degrees the tower was cut down, and the men converted into 
naked children ; and then a new legend was composed to 
account for the transformed symbol. It was said that an 
innkeeper, running short of bacon, had cut up three little 
boys, and pickled them in his salting-tub. S. Nicolas heard 
that three scholars had gone to the inn, and had disappeared 
there. He went to the tavern, asked for the pickle-tub, and 
at his word the remains of the butchered children came 
together, and the little pickles stood up alive in the tub. 

Even in his lifetime he was invoked by sailors. Jn a tem- 
pest he was thus called on, when he appeared, seized the 
rudder, and guided the ship in safety through the waves. 

His tomb at Myra was much resorted to, and it was con- 
trived that an oil should flow from it, which was collected as 
miraculous. In 1087 some merchants of Bari, in southern 
Italy, made a descent on Myra, and carried off the relics of 
the saint, which they deposited in their own city. Since then 

* Stanley, " Lectures on the Eastern Church," lect. iv. 

68 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 6. 

the oil has been made to flow from the bones as effectually 
as before their translation.. 

S. Nicolas is represented in art with three children in a 
pickle-tub at his side, or with three golden balls or purses in - 
his hand. 


(about A.D. 410.) 
[Roman Martyrology. Authority :— The letters of S. Jerome.] 

S. Jerome,* when in Rome, undertook to guide in the 
ascetic life a number of noble Roman ladies, who placed 
themselves imder his direction. Among these were Marcella 
and her sister Asella. The latter had dedicated her virginity 
to God at the age of ten. When aged twelve, she shut her- 
self up in a little cell, lay on the earth, ate only bread, and 
drank nothing but water, would not look at a man, nor speak 
to her sister. Great lumps grew on her knees, like those on 
the legs of camels, from continual kneeling on the hard 
stones. When a religious solemnity drew her to church, she 
endeavoured to avoid attention. She dressed quietly, was 
always sad, never smiled, and was deadly pale. She wore 
sackcloth next her flesh, and lived till she was over fifty, 
without, we are assured, ever knowing what it was to have a 
pain in her stomach. She flattered herself that she had never 
in her whole life spoken to a man. This was the ideal per- 
fection of a woman, for which she had been created, in the 
eyes of S. Jerome, who also, unquestionably, regarded her 
name as inappropriate. 

Dec. 6.] ^y^S. Dionysia^ Majoricus, and Others. 69 


(a.d. 484.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus. Authority : — Victor of Utica, De 
Pers. Vandal, lib. v.] 

In 484 Huneric, the Arian Vandal king of Africa, banished 
the Catholic bishops. Dionysia, a lady remarkable for her 
beauty as well as for her piety, was taken up, and scourged 
in the forum, till her back and sides were raw, and dripped with 
blood. Majoricus, her son, turned deadly pale, and trembled. 
Seeing him faint with horror, she turned towards him, and 
said, " My son, do not forget that you have been baptized in 
the name of the Holy Trinity into the Catholic Church, our 
Mother. Let us not lose the garment of our salvation, lest 
the Master of the Feast find us without the wedding raiment, 
and cast us forth into outer darkness." 

The lad was encouraged by her words to endure martyr- 
dom. His mother embraced his dead body, and buried it in 
her own house, that she might pray over his tomb. Dativa 
her sister, her cousin -^milianus, a physician, Tertius, 
Leontia, and Boniface also were scourged and tortured. A 
nobleman of Tuburbo, named Severus, was beaten, and then 
hoisted into the air, then jerked down on the pavement, and 
pulled up again, the whole weight of his body being sup- 
ported by ropes round his wrists. He was next dragged over 
the pavement, along the streets, which were reddened with 
his blood. 

At Cucusa there were many confessors and martyrs. 
Among them was a lady named Victoria, who was hung 
over a slow fire. Her husband, who hs^d become an Arian, 
brought her babes to the place, in hopes that the sight of 
them might nerve her to abandon her confession of the Con- 

70 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 6. 

substantial. But she turned her eyes away from them. She 
was cast off the rack when the executioner thought her dead, 
but she eventually recovered. 


(about A.D. 655.) 

[Belgian Mart3n:ologies. Authority: — Notices collected in Acta SS. 
Belgii, ii. p. 427.] 

S. Gertrude of Hamage, who is not to be mistaken for 
S. Gertrude of Nivelles, was the daughter of Theobald, Lord 
of Douai. She married a noble named Rigomer, and had 
by him several children, of whom Erchinoald, who was 
mayor of the palace to Queen Bathild, and Sigebert, who 
married S. Bertha, are those principally known. It is not 
certain whether Adalbald^ was son or grandson of S. Ger- 
trude. On the death of her husband, S. Gertrude built an 
oratory at Hamage, and, after some years, Eusebia, the 
eldest daughter of S. Adalbald and S. Rictrudis, came to 
live with her. Gradually a community of religious women 
formed itself around Gertrude. Adalbald was assassinated 
in Gascony about 652, and Gertrude died not long after. 
Her body rested in the monastery of Hamage till 686, when 
S. Vindician, bishop of Cambrai and Arras, translated it to 
the new church at Hamage, built by Gertrude II., who had 
succeeded S. Eusebia. 

» Feb. 3. 

Dec. 6.] 

S: Peter Paschal. 7 1 


(A.D. 1300.) 

[Roman Martyrology on 6th Dec, but his festival is observed on 
Oct. 23. In 1673 Clement X. by brief allowed the Order of Mercy to 
recite his office as bishop and martyr. He extended the privilege to all 
the clergy, regular and secular,. of the dioceses of Valencia, Granada, 
Jaen, and Toledo, and had his name inserted in the Roman Martyrology 
on Oct 23 and Dec 6. Authority : — The Acts of Canonization.] 

The ancestors of S. Peter Paschal came from Valencia, and 
were noted for their charitable benefactions, given for the 
keeping up of the Convent of the Holy Sepulchre, in the 
city of Valencia. Five of the family are said to have shed 
their blood for their religion. The saint was bom on 
December 6th, 1227; he was educated by a priest whom 
his parents had redeemed from slavery among the Moors. 
On the conquest of Valencia (1238) from the Moors by the 
king of Aragon, Peter was made canon of the cathedral, and 
he went to Paris to complete his studies in that university. 
On his return to Spain, he entered the Order of Mercy 
founded by S. Peter Nolasco for the redemption of captives, 
and received the habit in 1251. After his profession, he went 
to Barcelona, where he taught theology, till called to be tutor 
to Don Sanchez, third son of James I. of Aragon, whom he 
persuaded to enter the same Order as himself, and dedicate 
himself to the Church. Don Sanchez was appointed arch- 
bishop of Toledo, while still a boy in his teens. As he was 
too young to govern his church, Peter Paschal was given him 
as his coadjutor, by Urban IV., ^dth the title of Bishop of 
Granada. He was consecrated in 1262, and governed the 
archdiocese till 1275, when the youthful archbishop died in 
battle, fighting the Moors. 

72 Lives of the Saints. [Dcc.6. 

He visited Granada, still under the Moors, and consoled 
the Christians in captivity, and redeemed many from their 
slavery. In 1269 he was made bishop of Jaen, then under 
Moorish government. His success in bringing renegades 
back to Christianity exasperated the Cadi, and he had Peter 
Paschal imprisoned. A large sum was collected for his ran- 
som, but he expended it on a number of captive women and 
children, whom he feared the Mussulmans would force into 
apostacy. A story not without its beauty and meaning 
is told of the saint at this period. He was saying Mass, 
and a little boy served at the altar, with book and bell, most 
properly. When Mass was over, Peter turned to the server, 
and, thinking he was a Christian child, put him through his 
catechism. The child repeated it with great quickness and 
apprehension. But when the catechist asked the boy who 
was Jesus Christ, he was startled by receiving the answer, 
** Myself." There can be little doubt that the great truth 
that mercy shown to the litde ones believing in Christ is 
accepted as done to Christ Himself, was distorted in the 
mouth of the people into this story. 

Whilst in prison he composed a work against Moham- 
medanism, anything but complimentary to the founder of the 
religion and to the merits of the Koran. This so incensed 
the Moors that they damoured for his execution, and he was 
sentenced to lose his head. He spent the night before his 
martyrdom in an agony of fear, but was consoled by a vision, 
in which Christ appeared to him, and assured him that 
before His passion. He also had been agonized by natural 
fear of death. 

Peter Paschal suffered on January 6th, 1300, at the age of 
seventy-three. The Moors, not valuing his relics, readily 
abandoned them to the eager deputies of the churches- of 
Jaen and Baeza, who quarrelled which should have them. 
The contest was settled by mutual consent, that they should 

Dtc. 6.] S, Peter Paschal. 73 

be placed on the back of a blind mule, and the beast be 
allowed to take them where it liked. The mule had formerly, 
no doubt, belonged to some one in Baeza, though of this the 
deputies of Jaen were not informed, and the animal trotted 
home with the bones. 

74 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ y. 

December 7, 

S. Agatho, M. ai Alexandria : ad. 350. 

S. Ambrose, B.D, of Milan; a.d. 391. 

S. Severus, M. at Tuburbo in Africa; A.D. 484 (see p. 69). 

S. Martin, Ai. at Saintes; 5M cent. 

S. Gbrbbald, B. of Bayeux; circ. a.d. 62a 

S. Fara, V. at Meaux; -jthcent. 

S. Urbanus, B. of Chieti in South Italy; gtA cent. 

(a.d. 391.) 

[In the Roman Martyrology, in Usuardus, on April 4, "Depositio B. 
Ambrosii Ep. et Conf." On Dec. 7 in the Roman Mart., "Ordinatio 
Amb. Ep. et Conf." Greek Menaea, Menology of Basil, Jerusalem Kalen- 
dar of loth cent., Russian and all other Oriental Kalendars on Dec. 7 ; 
the Neapolitan Kalendar of the 9th cent, also on Nov. 3. Authorities : — 
A Life written by Paulinus the Priest (fl. 422), at the request of S. Au- 
gustine, in most editions of the works of S. Augustine, and in Surius, 
Vit SS. 4th April ; S. Isidore of Seville, **De Viris lUustribus," c. 4 ; 
Ruffinus, H. £. lib. ii.; S. Basil, Ep. 55 ; Sozomen, H. £. iv. ; Socrates, 
H. E. vi. ; Theodoret, H. E. iv. v. ; the Epistles and other writings of 
S. Ambrose.] 

UXENTIUS of Cappadocia, an Arian, had occu- 
pied the see of Milan for twenty years (355 — 
374); he had been forced on the see by Con- 
stantius, after the council held at Milan in 355, 
which had ended in the condemnation of S. Athanasius and 
the expulsion of S. Dionysius. 

It was at the close of 374 that Auxentius died. Valen- 
tinian desired the people to choose a successor. The 
governor of Liguria was in the act of exhorting the people 

Bee, 7.] 

•S. Ambrose. 75 

to observe order, when a child suddenly uttered the words, 
"Ambrose Bishop." The people took up the cry; it was 
deemed a special case, in which Divine intervention pointed 
out the predestined bishop. It mattered not in their view 
that Ambrose was not yet baptized. The principle em- 
bodied in a Sardican canon, which required a time of pro- 
bation before the episcopate, was held not to apply to an 
occasion so extraordinary. Ambrose tried various means of 
escaping from a burden which he unfeignedly dreaded, 
duties for which he, perhaps, felt no particular call. He 
attempted to destroy the high opinion which had been formed 
of him by a curious expedient. He hastened to his judgment- 
hall, and had some criminals brought before him and put on 
the rack. The shrieks of the victims he hoped would con- 
vince the electors that he was a judge without mercy. But 
the people cried, " We take on ourselves the responsibility." 
Next he went home and ordered some prostitutes to be 
introduced into his house.- " We," said the people, " will 
bear your sin." Then he attempted flight, and did actually 
hide himself for a time, but was given up by the owner of 
his place of refuge to the authorities who were busy searching 
for him. Finding resistance hopeless, he asked that none 
but a Catholic might baptize him. This was readily granted. 
Seven days after his baptism he was consecrated, December 
7> 374> being thirty-four years old. Whether the form of the 
Sardican canon was to some extent complied with by con- 
ferring on him, during the week, the inferior orders, has 
been doubted. From the Greek historians we should infer 
the negative ; but Paulinus, his secretary and biographer, is 
a much higher authority, and his words are : " It is said that 
after his baptism he discharged all ecclesiastical offices," 
before his consecration. In any case, Ambrose might well 
say of himself, that he was ** snatched from the tribunals to 
the episcopate, and had to begin to teach before he had 

76 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ y. 

begun to learn/' He set himself to study theology under 
Simplicianus, a Roman priest. 

Ambrose was the son of a prefect of the praetorium in 
Gaul, also named Ambrose. He had a brother named 
Satyrus whom he dearly loved, and a sister named Marcellina, 
considerably his senior. Both are numbered with the saints.^ 
Apparently Ambrose was bom in Gaul, but it is impossible 
to say whether the claim made by Treves to have been his 
birthplace is well founded, though it is not improbably just. 
S. Ambrose was bom about the year 340. In after years, 
when he had made himself famous by his eloquence, the 
legend that a swarm of bees had settled on his cradle as he 
lay asleep in infancy, told originally of Plato, was transferred 
to Ambrose, much as legends related of a Norse king reap- 
pear as historical anecdotes told of William the Conqueror, 
and again of Napoleon Bonaparte.^ The father of S. Am- 
brose died whilst the saint was very young, and his mother 
returned with him to Rome. He was brought up carefully 
by her and by his sister Marcellina. Amicius Probus, prae- 
torian prefect of Italy in 368, chose Ambrose to be his 
assessor, having noticed his probity and clear intelligence, as 
he acted for awhile in the capacity of advocate in his court. 
Afterwards Ambrose was made governor of Liguria and 
-Emilia, and when Amicius Probus gave him the govemor- 
ship, it was with words which were afterwards deemed pro- 
phetic, " Go thy way, govern not as a judge but as a bishop." 

S. Ambrose was no sooner consecrated than he disem- 
barrassed himself from all the ties which could distract his 
mind from exclusive attention to his new duties. He made 

* S. Satyrus, on Sept. yj ; S. Marcellina, on July 17. 

' The tale of an invader slipping on landing in the country he invades, and happily 
explaining it as stooping to kiss the land he has come to claim, is told of S. Olaf 
Haraldson, and of William the Conqueror. The story of Abram conveying his wife 
through the douane into Egypt in a box, reappears in the story told by Sanders of 
Archbishop Cranmer bringing " Black Joan " through the Custom-house at Dover. 

Dec. 7-1 

5*. Ambrose. 77 

over the portion of the family estates which had fallen to 
his share to his brother Satyrus, sold much, gave much to 
the Church, and devoted himself with conscientious diligence 
to his theological studies and episcopal obligations. Soon 
after his ordination, he wrote to the Emperor Valentinian to 
complain of injustices committed by some of the magistrates. 
The emperor replied : " I have long been aware of the 
freedom of your speech, yet that did not hinder me, from 
consenting to your consecration. Continue applying to our 
sins the remedies prescribed by the Law of God." S. Basil 
wrote to Ambrose to congratulate him, or rather the whole 
Church, on his promotion, and urged him to oppose the 
Arians, and to fight the good fight of faith. 

On the death of Valens in 3*78, the empire fell to his 
nephews Gratian and Valentinian II. The latter was an 
infant, Gratian a youth of great energy and abilities. The 
feeble Valens had been goaded by the jeers of his people in 
the circus to going in person against the invading Goths. 
Flattered by his eunuchs into contempt for his barbarous 
opponents, he did not wait for the arrival of Gratian, 
who was hastening to his assistance, but attacked the 
Goths under the walls of Hadrianople, and met with a 
crushing defeat, and with death. Gratian, on his way to the 
East, knew that he was rushing not only against barbarian 
adversaries of redoubtable power, but also into the midst of 
theological polemics. He trusted to the shields of his legions 
to guard him against the missiles of the former. He ap- 
pealed to Ambrose to furnish him with a theological maga- 
zine which might protect his own bosom from the barbs of 
heretical argument. Ambrose at once complied with the 
request of the youthful emperor, and wrote a treatise in two 
books on the Faith, which he forwarded to him in 379. 

He had not been bishop for three years, and yet his 
reputation had spread far and wide. Many virgins came to 

78 Lives of the Saints. ^Dec. 7. 

Milan, and placed themselves under his direction. To them 
he preached a course of sermons which, at the request of his 
sister, he collected into a book. Not long after, he wrote a 
book on Widowhood, on the occasion of a woman who had 
lost her husband and was tolerably advanced in life marry- 
ing again. 

The ravages of the Goths in Thrace and Illyria excited 
his most lively compassion for the sufferers. He melted 
down the vessels of gold and silver in the churches, and dis- 
posed of them for the redemption of the captives, keeping 
only as many chalices and patens as were necessary. The 
Arians reproached him, and denounced his conduct as sacri- 
legious, but Ambrose indignantly vindicated his conduct. 
The Church, he said; has gold, not to store up, but to use 
for the necessities of her children. 

After the death of Valens, Gratian, following tlie dictates 
of a liberal mind, passed a law which accorded permission 
to all heretics, with the exception of Manichaeans, Photinians, 
and Eunomians, to follow their religion without molestation. 
But in the month of August next year Gratian was in Milan, 
and it is much to be feared that Ambrose used his influence 
with the emperor to obtain a repeal of this rescript, and to 
exact one to the contrary effect. It is certain that Gratian 
addressed a letter to Hesperius, prefect of Italy, from Milan 
on the 3rd of August revoking the liberties accorded to the 
heretics, and forbidding all, without exception, the exercise 
of their religion, and the assembling of themselves either in 
churches or in private houses. 

When Gratian was at Sirmium in 378, Palladius and 
Secundianus, two lUyrian bishops, complained to him that 
they were denounced and decried as Arians, and entreated 
him to summon a council to judge their case. The Catholic 
bishops requested Gratism to hear them and decide whether 
they were orthodox or not, but the youthful emperor, still in 

Dec. 7.] 

S. Ambrose. 79 

his teens, was too modest, and probably knew himself to be 
too ignorant, to judge subtle questions of theology. S. Am- 
brose wrote to Gratian to tell him that it was not worth 
troubling the whole episcopate about a couple of heretics — 
prejudging their case — and that he and the Western Catholic 
bishops would speedily confound them. A council was sum- 
moned to meet at Aquileja. Ambrose now added three more 
books to his work on the Faith, in which he dealt with the 
arguments of the Arians, and explained in a Catholic sense 
those passages of Scripture which they quoted to sustain 
their doctrine. 

The Emperor Valentinian I. had been twice married ; if 
we might trust the ecclesiastical historian, he had taken to 
his arms the lovely Justina at the same time that he had a 
legitimate wife, Severa. Socrates indeed asserts that he 
boldly assumed the right of having two wives, and that he 
extended by law to all his subjects the same domestic 
privilege which he had assumed for himself. But it is more 
probable that he married Justina after having repudiated 
Severa. His first wife was the mother of Gratian. Justina 
bore him Valentinian II. 

After the death of her husband, Justina retired to Sir- 
mium. The bishopric of the capital of lUyria was then 
vacant, through the death of the Arian Germinus. Justina 
was bent on replacing him by another Arian. It was most 
important to obtain an orthodox bishop for this influential 
see. Although Ambrose had no jurisdiction whatever in 
Illyria, he hastened to Sirmium, and Justina heard to her 
dismay that he was in the cathedral enthroned, had sum- 
moned the people, and was about to proceed with the 
election and consecration of a bishop. 

She sent orders that he should be removed ifrom his place^ 
Ambrose sat immovable on his tribune, and would not stir. 
An Arian consecrated virgin went up to him, caught hold of 

8o Lives oj the Saints. ^^^^ 7. 

M I ■! _ _ ■ ' 

his garments, and tried to drag him out of his seat Ambrose 
took no more notice of her than to say, " It befits neither a 
woman nor one of your profession to lay hands on- a priest. 
Beware, lest the judgment of God fall on you." 

The woman was so frightened that she fell ill and died 
in the night, and this caused such a scare among the Arians, 
that they no longer attempted to interfere with the .proceed- 
ings of Ambrose. The Catholic party elected Anemius, and 
Ambrose returned to Milan, having earned the hatred of 

The Western Council summoned by Gratian at Aquileja, 
to hear the case of the lUyrian bishops Palladius and 
Secundianus, metin 381. It was attended by only about 
thirty bishops. Palladius remonstrated ; he had appealed 
to the whole Church, had demanded to be heard by a 
general council ; he had calculated on support from some of 
the Eastern bishops. The bishops called on Palladius to 
condemn the sta,tements in the letter of Arius to S. Alexander. 
Like the Eusebians at Nicsea, he had recourse to pitiable 
evasions : he would call Christ " very Son," ** good and 
powerful," but would not say whether He were created or 
uncreate. When asked, **Is Christ very God? "he an- 
swered, " He is the power of our God." He adduced the 
texts John xvii. 3, i Tim. vi. 15, John xiv. 28. As he would 
not condemn Arius, he was deposed ; he sneered at the pro- 
ceedings, " Have you begun to play ? play on." His com- 
panion, Secundianus, who rejected as unscriptural the pro- 
position " the Son is very God," was condemned with him. 
The debate lasted from daybreak till one o'clock in the 
afternoon. The bishops wrote to Gratian and to Valen- 
tinian II., announcing the decision of the council. 

In 382 a council was held at Rome, which S. Ambrose 
attended. Whilst there, he was invited by a lady of exalted 
rank to offer the Holy Sacrifice in her house beyond the 

Dec 7.] 

S. Ambrose. 81 

Tiber ; he visited her for the purpose, and is reported to 
have cured a paralysed woman on that occasion. Whilst in 
Rome he fell ill, and was attended by his sister Marcellina, 
and visited by S. Ascholius of Thessalonica. In the same 
year he began his treatise on the Incarnation, which he was 
induced to undertake by the following circumstances. Two 
chamberlains of Gratian, who were Arians, while Ambrose 
was preaching one day, proposed to him a difficulty, and de- 
manded his answer. He promised to give it next day in 
the Portian basilica. Accordingly he attended, along with 
such of the people as were fond of theological discussions. 
But the two chamberlains had not been serious in their 
challenge — they had spoken out a difficulty as it rose in their 
minds, and were too indifferent to go to the Portian church 
to hear it elaborately and ponderously refuted. They had, 
in fact, gone out for a drive in the country. Ambrose and 
the people waited, but as the chamberlains did not appear, 
he mounted the ambone and began an explanation of the 
struggle between Cain and Abel, in which he made it abun* 
dantly clear that Arians, Apollinarians, and heretics in 
general were that wicked one who slew his brother, and that 
Christ was the true Abel whom they put to death afresh by 
denying His divinity. This led to Gratian proposing to him 
a difficulty, which Ambrose resolved ; and out of these 
circumstances grew his treatise on the Incarnation. Popular 
imagination, of course, has made the two chamberlains tumble 
out of their chariot and break their necks, but as Am'- 
brose says nothing about this judgment in his treatise when 
alluding to them, it is almost certain that nothing of the sort 
took place. 

Maximus revolted in 383, and Gratian was murdered at 
Lyons. The whole of Gaul, and the army which Gratian 
had led against Maximus, had gone over to the usurper. 
Justina trembled for her son Valentinian, and in her distress 


82 L ives of the Saints. p>ec. 7. 

had recourse to Ambrose, and sent him to Treves to nego- 
.tiate with Maximus. Ambrose remained there the whole of 
the winter, awaiting the result of a deputation sent by the 
usurper to Valentinian. Maximus contented himself with 
the sovereignty of Gaul, Spain, and Britain, and left the child- 
emperor of Italy to be crushed on a future and more con- 
venient occasion. During his stay at Treves, Ambrose 
refused to communicate with Maximus, the murderer of his 
sovereign. The interests of his earthly monarch or of the 
empire would not induce him to sacrifice for an instant 
those of his Heavenly Master ; he would have no fellowship 
with the man of blood. Ambrose, who had loved Gratian, 
and directed his studies, and guarded his virtue, mourned 
- for the young sovereign with tears, as for a son.^ 
. In the senate-house at Rome stood, in the reign of Gratian, 
an altar of Victory, which Constantius had removed when 
he visited Rome,^ and Julian had restored. Gratian, who 
showed his Christian zeal by refusing the robe of the Pon- 
tifex Maximus, which emperors had usually worn, again 
ordered the removal of the altar. The "great city,'* which 
had been " drunken with the blood of the saints," remained 
at this time, in spite of the energy and stateliness of its 
church, a stronghold of idolatry. Among its pagan nobles 
were the virtuous and high-minded Praetextatus, famous for 
his sarcasm about the Roman episcopate f Flavian, one of 
the praetorian prefects ; and Symmachus, the great orator 
of the party, who now went to plead for the restoration of 
the altar. But Damasus the Pope sent a memorial from 
Christian senators, repudiating all share in the pagan peti- 
tion, and declaring that they would not come into the senate- 
house if it were granted. Ambrose took charge of this 

* ** Doleo in te, fiK Gratiane, suavis mihi valde.'*— Dc Ob. Val. 80. 

* Probably wanting it for Constantinople, where his father had collected a great 
number of the best statues. ' See S. Damasus, Dec. zz. 

Dec. 7.1 

S. Ambrose. 83 

memorial ; Gratian refused to admit Sytnmachus, or to hear 
his eloquent appeal. This appeal is still extant. Couched 
in a feeble and apologetic tone, we perceive at once that it is 
the artful defence of an almost hopeless cause ; it is cautious 
to timidity; dexterous, elaborately conciliatory; moderate, 
from fear of offending, rather than from tranquil dignity. 
Ambrose, on the other hand, in the memorial he bore, and 
of which he was the author, writes with all the fervid and 
careless energy of one confident in his cause, and who knows 
that he is appealing to an audience already pledged by their 
own feelings to his side. He has not to obviate objections, 
to reconcile difficulties, to sue or propitiate ; his con- 
temptuous and criminating language has only to inflame 
zeal, to quicken resentment and scorn. But it was not for 
the statue of Victory alone that the heathen orator appealed. 
Gratian had confiscated all the property of the temples, and 
swept away the privileges and immunities of the priesthood, 
even of the vestal virgins. Symmachus pleaded for tolera- 
tion in the name of Rome. " Most excellent princes, fathers 
of your country, respect my years, and permit me still to 
practise the religion of my ancestors, in which I have grown 
old. Grant me but the liberty of living according to my 
ancient usage. This religion has subdued the world to my 
dominion ; these rites repelled Hannibal from my walls, 
the Gauls from the Capitol. Have I lived thus long, to be 
rebuked in my old age for my religion ? It is too late ; it 
would be discreditable to change in my old age. I entreat 
but peace for the gods of Rome, the tutelary gods of our 

country Heaven is above us all : we cannot all follow 

the same path : there are many ways by which we arrive at 
the great secret." * 

The end of the third century had witnessed the perse- 
cution of Diocletian ; the fourth had not elapsed before 

' *\ Udo itinere non potest peryeniri ad tain grande secretum.'* 

84 Lives of the Saints. (d^ y. 

paganism was pleading for toleration in her stronghold. 
Symmachus remonstrates against the miserable economy of 
saving the maintenance of the vestal virgins ; the disgrace 
of enriching the imperial treasury by such paltry gains ; he 
protests against the confiscation of all legacies bequeathed 
to them by the piety of individuals. " Slaves may inherit ; 
the vestal virgins alone, and the ministers of religion, are 
precluded from this common privilege." The orator con- 
cludes by appealing to the deified father of the emperor, 
who looks down with sorrow from the starry citadel, to see 
that toleration violated which he had. maintained with willing 
justice. Far different is the tone and manner of Ambrose 
a$ h$ appeals to the young and contracted mind of Gratian 
to prohibit the fatal concession. He asserts, in plain terms, 
die unquestionable obligation of a Christian sovereign to 
permit no part of the public revenue to be devoted to the 
maintenance of idolatry. " The emperor who shall be guilty 
of granting such a concession as is demanded will find that 
the bishops will neither endure nor connive at his sin. If he 
enter a church, he will either find no priest, or else one who 
will defy his authority. The Church will indignantly reject 
the gifts of him who has shared them with Gentile temples. 
The altar disdains the offerings of him who has made offerings 
to images." 

Symmachus, foiled in his attempt, waited till the death of 
Gratian, and then made a second application in behalf of the 
altar of Victory, now to the childish Valentinian. But Am- 
brose was again prepared to resist him. He reminded 
Valentinian that no pagan was obliged by a Christian sove- 
reign to join in Christian worship, and that boyish years 
would not excuse a weak betrayal of Christianity. He dwelt 
on the moral deadness and impotence of paganism. 

" How long did Hannibal insult the gods of Rome? It 
was the goose and not the deity that saved the Capitol. Did 

Dec, 7.] 

.S. Ambrose. 85 

Jupiter speak in the goose ? Where were the gods in all the 
defeats, some of them but recent, of the pagan emperors? 
Was not the altar of Victory then standing ?" He insults the 
number, the weaknesses, the marriages of the vestal virgins 
when grown old. " If the same munificence were shown to 
Christian virgins, the beggared treasury would be exhausted 
by the claims." " Are not the baths, the porticoes, the streets 
still crowded with statues? Must they still keep their place 
in the great council of the empire? You compel to worship 
if you restore the altar. And who is this deity ? Victory is 
a gift, and not a power. She depends on the courage of the 
legions, not on the influence of the religion — a mighty 
deity, who is bestowed by the numbers of an army, or the 
doubtful issue of a battle !" Valentinian refused to restore 
the altar. 

The Empress Justina was ungrateftd to S. Ambrose for his 
intercession with Makimus. In Lent of 384 she demanded 
in her son's name, for Arian worship, first the Portian 
basilica ^ outside the walls of Milan, and then, in its steady 
the new and larger church of the Apostles within the city. As 
the former had been a basilica, or hall of justice, made over 
by the State to the Church, Justina thought the State had a 
right to reclaim the gift, to use it for the religious worship of 
the emperor. The Arians had been deprived of their churches 
under the Catholic emperor, Gratian. Under the Arian 
Valentinian they claimed at least a right to one church in 
which to perform their devotions. Officers of state came to 
Ambrose on Friday before Palm Sunday; he answered, '*The 
priest cannot give up the temple.'' On Saturday the prefect 
in vain endeavoured to obtain at any rate the Portian church. 
The people clamoured to Ambrose to resist, and he did so. 
On Palm Sunday, Ambrose was in the baptistery, explaining 
the Creed, as was usual on that day, to the competentes, or 

* Now San Vittore 

86 Lives of the Saints. p^ec. 7. 

candidates for the Easter baptism, the ordinary catechumens 
having left the church. A message informed him that cur- 
tains were being put up in the Portian, the ordinary sign of 
the emperor's claiming any place. ** However," Ambrose 
wrote to his sister, " I remained at my duty, and began to 
perform Mass." ^ While he was " making the oblation," he 
heard with grief that Castulus, an. Arian priest, was in the 
grasp of the Catholic population, who were likely to tear him 
to pieces. He forthwith sent clergy to his rescue, and 
prayed at the sacrifice that no blood might be shed in the 
contest. The court, highly incensed at the riot and the ill- 
treatment of Castulus, demanded a fine of the city for the 
disturbance, and imprisoned several Catholic tradesmen. 
Ambrose was urged by counts and tribunes to submit. " If," 
he firmly answered, ^ I were asked to yield what was mine, I 
would not refuse, although what is mine belongs to the poor. 
But what is God's I cannot surrender. Put me in irons, lead 
me to death; you cannot better gratify me." "Atall events," 
said the officer, coldly, "control the passions of the excited 
rabble." He replied, " It is in my power to refrain from ex- 
citing them. The hand of God can alone allay them.'*^ It 
was impossible, as they and he knew, to employ force, without 
a massacre ensuing. Ambrose spent the whole night in the 
old basilica. Before daybreak he went out, and found the 
church surrounded by soldiers. He returned to the Portian 
to save its falling into the hands of the Arians. This was on 
Wednesday. The soldiers quietly followed, and surrounded 
the basilica. Ambrose forbade communion with them ; but 
as the guard was made up mostly of Catholic soldiers, the 
men's religious fears were thus appealed to, and they began 
to steal into the church. The women screamed and fainted ; 
but the soldiers declared they had come there to pray, and 

' '* Missam facere coepi." The earliest instance, apparently, of this term. 

' " Referebam in meo jure esse, ut non excitarem, in Deo manu, uti mitigaret.** 

Dec 7.) 

^y. Ambrose. 87 

not to use violence against anyone. The lessons were from 
the Book of Job. Ambrose began to preach on Job's trials* 
He himself, the Catholic flock indiscriminately, were Job on 
bis dunghill. The devil had robbed them of children, and 
goods, and good name. Ambrose thought it not indecent 
and disrespectful to the empress-mother to liken her to Job's 
wife urging him to blaspheme God, to Eve tempting Adam, 
to Jezebel encouraging the prophets of Baal and persecuting 
Elijah, to Herodias, the incestuous, seeking the life of the 
Baptist. Intelligence arrived that the populace were tearing 
down the hangings of the church on which was the sacred 
image of the sovereign, which had been suspended in the 
Portian basilica, as a s^ign that the church had been taken 
possession of by the emperor. Ambrose sent some of his 
priests to allay the tumult, but went not himself. He looked 
triumphantly around on the soldiers who had entered the 
church, and had listened without drawing their swords to the 
insults heaped on the name and character of the empress- 
regent. "See!" he said, "the Gentiles have entered into the 
inheritance of the Lord; but the armed Gentiles have become 
Christians and co-heirs of God. My enemies are now my 

A confidential secretary of the emperor appeared, not to 
expel or degrade the refractory prelate, but to deprecate his 
t3Tanny and complain of his domineering. "Why do ye 
hesitate to strike down the tyrant?" replied Ambrose; and he 
added, " Yes, the priest has his dominion — it is in his weak- 
ness. When I am weak, then am I strong." 

Ambrose spent the night with his priests in chanting 
psalms in the "little basilica."^ Next day was Maundy 
Thursday, the solemn day for absolving penitents. While 

* An oratory apparently in connection with the great basilica. The old churches 
were supplied with numerous buildings connected with them — baths, halls, galleries, 
sleeping-rooms, and rooms for eating in ; so that people often spent nights and days 
in the diurches. < 

88 Lives of the Saints, [©^€.7. 

Ambrose was preaching on the lesson, which consisted of the 
Book of Jonah, word came that the soldiers were recalled 
from their post, and the tradesmen restored to their homes. 
A scene of tumultuous joy followed ; regardless of the sanc- 
tity of the spot where they were assembled, the people 
dapped their hands, and the soldiers rushed to the altar and 
kissed it. 

The imperial authority quailed before the resolute prelate. 
The court dared not prosecute a struggle which might have 
jeopardized the life of the emperor. The Catholic rioters, 
abetted, as was proved, by the soldiers, who were ready to 
tear an Arian priest to pieces, might not shrink from putting 
an obnoxious emperor in his minority to death. When 
Valentinian was urged to confront Ambrose in the church, 
the timid and prudent youth replied, '' His eloquence would 
compel you yourselves to lay me bound hand and foot before 
"his throne.'* Ambrose triumphed in the destruction of the 
old dragon, smitten by God and cast out. But some of the 
officers of the court were highly incensed at the way in which 
Ambrose had allowed himself to speak of the emperor and 
his mother. 

" While I live, dost thou thus treat Valentinian with con- 
tempt ?" said the eunuch, Calligone. "Verily, I shall strike 
off thy head." Ambrose replied, " Gpd grant that thou 
mayest fulfil thy menace; I shall suffer as a bishop, and thou 
do the job of an eimuch." * 

But it was intolerable that the free exercise of Arian wor- 
ship should remain illegal whilst the emperor and his mother 
professed that form of faith. Justina persuaded Valentinian 
to repeal the law of Gratian, so far as it affected the Arians, 
and to allow them full liberty of worship. Benevolus, Pre- 
fect of the Memorials, or Secretary of State, refused to draft 
this law. He was not yet baptized, but he was an ardent 

* "Tu fades, quod spadoaes. * 

Dec. 7.] 

5. Ambrose. 89 

controversialist and partisan on the Catholic side. He was 
degraded, and retired to Brescia, his native place, where he 
made the friendship of S. Gaudentius, while Justina found a 
secretary more complaisant, and the law was promulgated in 
January, 386. It granted complete and equal toleration to 
Catholics and Arians alike, and ordered that such as excited 
riots, or opposed the execution of this law by overt or covert 
measures, should be punished with death. 

An Arian bishop, who took the name of Auxentius, claimed 
the throne of Milan. Ambrose was called on to plead 
against him in the imperial consistory. He gave in a written 
refusal to admit the principle of lay judges in matters of 
faith, and cited the words of Valentinian L, " It is not for 
me to judge between bishops." The present sovereign, he 
boldly observed, was young and unbaptized ; one day he 
would see the absurdity of asking a bishop to '^ place his 
rights at the feet of laymen." 

He took up his abode within the church, which was again 
filled with a zealous congregation, and guarded, as before, 
by soldiers who prevented all egress. To enkindle enthu- 
siasm, he set the people to sing hymns which he had written, 
full of terse and condensed energy, and to chant the Psalms 
antiphonally, " after the manner of the East." He knew "how 
mighty a strain" was the doxology to Father, Son, and 
Spirit, which " made all who sang it teachers." After some 
days had been thus spent, Ambrose preached, apparently on 
Palm Sunday, assuring his flock that he would never abandon 
them ; referring to Elisha in Dothan, and Peter in prison, 
denouncing Auxentius, and using the lessons of the day — 
Naboth's history and the entry into Jerusalem — for apposite 
and telling illustrations. He quoted the passage about 
" tribute to Caesar," and said that in the Church there was 
but one image, Christ the image of the Father. There was 
no question about paying taxes; they were levied, as of 

90 Lives of the Saints. [Dcc. 7. 

course, on Church lands. That the Church had gold to 
bestow he denied hot ; Christ's poor were her stipendiaries; 
He summed up his principles in the words, " The emperor 
is of the Church, is in the Church, but is not above it." 

It appears that the soldiers were withdrawn. After a new 
struggle, Ambrose had won a new triumph, the imperial 
power had sustained a new defeat. He was left free to 
dedicate a church — ^the Ambrosian ; after which the people 
asked him to place some relics of martyrs in the new church, 
according to custom. " I will," he said, " if I can find any." 
The church of Milan, he admitted, was barren of reliCs ; 
more the need for finding some now. He ordered the people 
to dig in the earth before the chancel screen of SS. Felix 
and Nabor. As they approached the place, a madman went 
into a paroxysm, and it was thought that the devil within 
him was disturbed by the holy remains. The bones of two 
men of great stature were found, with much blood.^ The 
bodies were disinterred, and conveyed in solemn pomp to the 
Ambrosian church. There was great exultation. It was 
concluded that these were the relics of SS. Gervasius and 
Protasius, martyrs of Milan. A blind butcher, named 
Severus, recovered, or pretended that he had recovered, his 
eyesight by the application of a handkerchief which had 
touched the relics. Other wondrous cures were spoken of 
in a sermon preached that day by Ambrose \ but this was 
the chief case. The Arians laughingly declared that the 
whole thing from beginning to end was a fraud ; but we have 
not an account of their reasons for doubting the genuine- 
ness of the bones and the miraculous illumination of the 
butcher.* The popular excitement caused by the discovery, 

^ " Inyenimus mine magnitudinis viros duos, ut prisca aetas ferebat" 
' They asserted that the madmen who cried out and went into convulsions in the 
presence of the relics had been bribed and educated to play the part They drowned 
one of these wretches, but whether from anger at his testimony, or conviction that ho 
was an impostor, we have no. means'of judging. 

Dec. 7.} 

S. Ambrose. 91 

and by the reputed miracles, was so great as to stop Justina's 
attempts to recover the use of a church for the Arians in 

It was not long after this that Augustine and Ambrose 
met. Augustine was engaged in the struggle against the 
Manichaean errors which had darkened his soul, and was 
preparing in a house near Milan for baptism at the ensuing 
Easter. Ambrose recommended him to read Isaiah. Augus- 
tine attended the semions of the bishop, but, on account of 
the crowds who sought interviews with Ambrose, he had 
not the opportunities he desired of holding long conversa- 
tions with him, and opening to him fully his heart. 

On Easter eve, April 25, 387, Augustine, with his friend 
Alypius and his son Adeodatus, were baptized together by 
S. Ambrose in the baptistery at Milan. 

Justina, having failed to crush S. Ambrose, employed him 
again in her service. He visited Treves to ask Maximus for 
a ratification of the peace, and for the delivery of the remains 
of Gratian. Maximus treated the archbishop with disrespect, 
by refusing to see him except in public audience ; and Am- 
brose, on entering the consistory, declined the proffered kiss 
of peace, on the ground of this affront to his dignity. After 
some conversation, Maximus promised to consider Valen- 
tinian*s request. Ambrose held aloof from the communion 
of the prince who had slain his master ; he refused also to 
communicate with Ithacius and the other bishops who had 
denounced and obtained the execution of Priscillian and 
those who agreed with him. S. Martin had also refused 
communion with bishops whose hands were red with the 
blood of heretics. In consequence of this, Maximus bade 
Ambrose leave the city. His chief regret was that an old 
and dying bishop, Hyginus, who had also refused com- 
munion with these prelates, was ruthlessly hurried into exile. 
"When I begged that the old man might not be thrust forth 

92 Lives of the Saints. p^. 7. 

without a cloak and a feather-cushion, I was thrust forth 
myself." He made his way back to Rome, and wrote on his 
road a letter to Valentinian to be wary, and on his guard 
against a man who, under a semblance of peace, disguised 
a hostile purpose. 

The conduct of Ambrose towards the Ithacian bishopa 
was quite in accordance with his views of the sacredness of 
human life, though opposed to that intolerance which denied 
heretics the public profession of their religion, the logical 
sequence of which was persecution with fire and sword. A 
judge named StudiUs consulted Ambrose about his religious 
situation should he be called onto condemn criminals to death. 
Ambrose told him that it was necessary that capital sentences 
should be given, and there was no sin in pronouncing them. 
But he said that most Christian judges when they passed 
such sentences abstained from communion, and he praised 
the feeling which dictated this conduct. " You are excu- 
sable," he said, "if you communicate, but you are not 
praiseworthy." Several heathen magistrates were proud 
never to have stained their. axes with human blood, and 
Christian judges should endeavour to be equally sparing in 
dealing forth sentence of death. In another letter Ambrose 
says that he had waxed warm on this subject, since certain 
bishops — ^he is alluding to the Ithacians — had dragged 
criminals before the courts and had obtained their execution. 
" When the guilty is made to die," he says, " the person of 
the criminal is destroyed, but not the crime. But when the 
criminal turns from the error of his ways, then the crime is 
blotted out, and the person of the criminal is saved." He 
recommends, however, great caution in bishops interceding 
for the lives of criminals; vanity and not charity may make 
them intercessors, and too liberal an extension of pardons to 
malefactors may encourage crime, and defeat the ends of 

Dec. 7.} 

S. Amdrose. 93 

Justina, fearing an invasion of Italy by Maximus, fled 
with her son to Thessalonica, to place herself and him under 
the protection of Theodosius. Maximus crossed the Alps, 
and Italy without opposition accepted him as emperor. In 
the meantime Valentinian was learning orthodoxy from the 
lips of Theodosius, and Theodosius love from the lips of the 
sister of Valentinian. 

In his zeal for the faith, which was altogether genuine, if 
" not according to knowledge," glowing from his recent bap- 
tism, Theodosius dictated an edict, authorizing the followers 
of the doctrines held by Damasus of Rome and Peter of 
Alexandria, to assume the title of Catholics, and " as we 
judge that all others are extravagant madmen, we brand 
them with the infamous name of heretics, and declare that 
their conventicles shall no longer usurp the respectable appel- 
lation of churches." 

Hemophilus, bishop of Constantinople, was offered the 
alternative of subscription to the creed of Nicaea or banish- 
ment. The Arians were deprived of the hundred churches 
they had filled to overflowing, which were given over to the 
inconsiderable number of orthodox believers, a number, 
however, certain to multiply enormously under the quicken- 
ing sunshine of imperial patronage. 

About six weeks afterwards, Theodosius declared his reso- 
lution of expelling from all churches of his dominions the 
bishops and their clergy, who should obstinately refuse to 
believe, or at least to profess, the doctrine of the Council of 
Nicaea, On March 10, 388, he forbade heretics inhabiting 
cities, ordaining clergy, holding assemblies, and even appear- 
ing to plead their cause or their wrongs in his presence. 
He now made war on Maximus, who was defeated in Pan- 
nonia and put to death at Aquileja in the summer of 388. 
Theodosius remained at Milan several months. It was 
probably in the early part of his stay that, after approaching 

94 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 7. 

the altar to present his offering, he did not return, like 
other laymen, to the nave, but continued standing in the 
sanctuary. Ambrose asked what he wanted ; he replied that 
he intended to communicate. Ambrose, by his archdeacon, 
bade the emperor withdraw from a part of the church re- 
served for the clergy. Theodosius at once acquiesced, 
explaining that he had been accustomed at Constantinople 
to remain in the sanctuary, but thanking Ambrose for giving 
him better instruction. In another case the prelate's admo- 
nition was less reasonable and less readily obeyed. 

The Christians of Callinicum, in Osroene, had burned the 
synagogue of the Jews — it was said, at the instigation, if not 
under the actual sanction of the bishop. The church of the 
Valentinian Gnostics had likewise been destroyed and plun- 
dered by the zeal of some monks. Theodosius commanded 
the restoration of the synagogue at the expense of the 
Christians, and fair compensation to the heretical Valen- 
tinians for their losses. The pious indignation of Ambrose 
was not restrained by the remoteness of these transactions 
from the scene of his own labours or by the undeniable 
violence of the Christian party. He stood forward, de- 
signated, it might seem, by his situation and character as 
the acknowledged champion of the whole of Christendom, to 
claim the right and the honour to sack, and bum, and defile 
the sacred edifices of such as did not adore God after the 
most perfect way of the Catholic Church. In a letter to the 
emperor, he boldly vindicated the bishop ; he declared him- 
self, so far as his approbation could make him so, an accom- 
plice in the glorious and holy crime. If martyrdom were the 
consequence, he claimed the honour of that martyrdom ; he 
declared it utterly irreconcilable with Christianity that it 
should in any way contribute to the restoration of Jewish or 
heretical worship. If the bishop should comply with the 
mandate, he would be an apostate, and the emperor wpuld 

Dec. 7.] 

S. Ambrose. 95 

be answerable for his apostacy. The act was but a slight 
and insufficient retaliation for the deeds of plunder and 
destruction perpetrated by the Jews and heretics against 
orthodox Christians. He argued that as Julian had not 
punished heathens for outraging churches, Theodosius ought 
not to punish Christians for lawless violence done to a syna- 
gogue. He followed up the letter with a sermon addressed 
to the emperor, when he was in the church. When he came 
down from the pulpit, Theodosius said, " You have been 
preaching at me." Ambrose did not deny it. "Well," 
said the emperor, " I certainly did give rather a severe 
order, but I have softened it. Those monks commit many 
outrages!" Ambrose flatly refused to proceed with the 
eucharistic service until the emperor promised to cancel the 
obnoxious orders. Theodosius at last gave way, at least in 
part ; the law-breakers should not be punished. He was 
not so lost to the elementar}' principles of justice in his 
fanatical obedience to an imperious bishop as to remit the 
command that the synagogue sheuld be rebuilt, and that 
the stolen treasures of the Valentinian " temple " should be 
restored. Ambrose pertinaciously repeated, " I depend 
upon you — I depend upon you." " Yes, depend upon me." 
Then Ambrose went up to the altar. " I would not have 
done so," he triumphantly adds, " if he had not given me a 
full promise." 

A third application on behalf of the altar of Victory was 
not so promptly refused by Theodosius as Ambrose pro- 
bably expected; but after some days his bold and pertina- 
cious exhortations had their effect. 

But if these acts of Ambrose might to some appear to 
savour of the narrowest bigotry, and unwarrantable aggres- 
sions on the dignity of the civil magistrate, the Roman 
world could not withhold its admiration from another act of 
the Milanese prelate. It could not but hail the appearance 

96 Lives of the Saints. pec. 7. 

of a new moral power, enlisted on the side of humanity and 
justice ; a power which could bow the loftiest, as well as the 
meanest, under its dominion. For the first time since the 
establishment of the imperial despotism, the voice of a sub- 
ject was heard in deliberate, public, and authoritative con- 
demnation of a deed of atrocious tyranny and sanguinary 
vengeance ; for the first time, an emperor of Rome trembled 
before public opinion, and humbled himself to a contrite 
confession of guilt and cruelty. 

The people of Thessalonica had quarrelled in a disgrace- 
ful cause with Botheric, the commander-in-chief of the 
forces in Illyricum ; and having risen in tumult, had mur- 
dered him and several other officers. At first, Theodosius 
had been kindled into fury; Ambrose, apparently, had 
calmed him ; but the high officials of his court, particularly 
Ruffinus, his chancellor, or '* master of the offices," had per- 
suaded him to order a general massacre. The circus, filled 
with the entire population of the city, was surrounded by 
troops, and an indiscriminate massacre of all ages and sexes, 
the guilty and the innocent, revenged the insult on the im- 
perial dignity. Seven thousand lives were sacrificed in this 
remorseless carnage. The massacre lasted three hours. The 
most piteous case was that of a father, who offered himself 
as a substitute for his sons ; the soldiers answered that they 
could only spare one of the youths, because they had to 
make up their tale of victims. The unhappy man, gazing 
on both, could not make up his mind to choose one before 
the other ; and the impatient soldiers cut down both. 

Such was the tragedy of which Ambrose now heard. Wish- 
ing to give Theodosius time to bethink himself, he withdrew 
for a while from Milan, and wrote to .the emperor. The 
letter expressed the horror of Ambrose and his brother 
bishops at this inhuman deed, in which he should consider 
himself an accomplice if he could refi^in from expressing his 

Dec. 7.] 

S. Ambrose, 97 

detestation of its guilt ; if he should not refuse to communi- 
cate with a man stained with the innocent blood, not of one, 
but of thousands. The deed which had been done had no 
parallel. The emperor must repent like David. " You are 
a man, and temptation has come upon you; conquer it. 
Only penitence can take away sin. No angel or archangel 
can do it ; even the Lord Himself forgives no sinners, save 
those who repent. 1 would persuade you, I entreat, exhort, 
admonish.'' The devil, he proceeded, had been envious of 
that kindness of heart, which was the crowning grace of the 
emperor's character. " I am attached to you, I love you, I 
pray for you ; but I love God better."" 

Theodosius attempted to enter the church as usual ; but 
Ambrose, who had returned to Milan, met him at the gate, 
took hold of his purple robe, and asked, " How can you pre- 
sume to receive the most holy Body of the Lord, and to 
carry His precious Blood to lips which ordered so much 
bloodshed ?" " David himself committed crimes," said 
Theodosius. The answer was ready : " You followed him 
in sin, follow him also in amendment." The emperor, 
abashed, did not press forward, but retired from the church, 
and remained excommunicate for eight, months. 

The feast of the Nativity of Our Lord arrived, and he 
remained shut up in his palace, and wept. Ruffinus, master 
of the offices, asked the cause of these tears. ** I weep," 
the emperor answered, " because this day the temple of God 
is open to slaves and beggars, and I am alone excluded." 
Ruffinus offered to run and plead with Ambrose for restora- 
tion to communion. " You will not succeed," said Theodo- 
sius ; ** his sentence was just, and respect for the imperial 
power will not lead him to transgress the law of God." 
Ruffinus persevered. " Then run fast," said Theodosius. 
And, no longer master of his impatience, he followed his 
master of the offices at a distance. S. Ambrose saw Ruffinus 


98 Lives of the Saints. p^c. 7. 

coming. ** You, the adviser of this massacre, are come to 
excuse it," he said. As Ruffinus urged [the case, Ambrose, 
inflamed with zeal, said, *' I tell you, Ruffinus, that I shall 
stand and withstay his entrance. If he will press in, it shall 
be over my body." 

Ruffinus returned to Theodosius, who was in the middle 
of the square, and told him what Ambrose had said. 

" Nevertheless I will go on," said the emperor, ** I will 
receive the affi-ont I have deserved." 

He went on to the chjirch, but instead of entering it, he 
turned into the audience hall where Ambrose was enthroned, 
and besought of him absolution. 

"What penance have you done for this great crime?" 
asked the bishop. " It is for you to teach me what to per- 
form," answered the emperor. Ambrose laid on him two 
obligations : one, to make public penance ; the other, to pass 
a law by which sentence of death was suspended for thirty 
days, so as to allow time for a remission of the sentence 
should it have been delivered in a moment of anger, or on 
imperfect information.^ 

Then Ambrose raised the excommunication, and Theo- 
dosius entered the church. The emperor removed his 
imperial ornaments, and remained prostrate on the pave- 
ment, weeping and saying, " My soul cleaveth unto the dust, 
quicken Thou me according to Thy word." The people 
wept and prayed with him. 

It was probably in allusion to this memorable deed of 
Ambrose that Chrysostom said, addressing the clergy : " If 
the unworthy person who comes to communion be a general 
or a prefect, or even he that wears the diadem, debar him ; 
your commission is greater than his. But if you are afraid. 

' This is told by Ruffinus, H. E. lib. xviii., and by Theodoret, lib. v. c. i8. But 
the law in the Theodosian Code bears the name of Gratian as well as of Theodosius, 
and is dated Aug. x8, 382. 

Dec. 7.] 

6*. Ambrose, 99 

refer him to me j I will shed my own blood, sooner than 
administer Blood so awful, contrary to what is meet."^ 

A fourth application about the Altar of Victory took place 
in the beginning of 392. The deputation could wring 
nothing from Valentinian, who gave his answer without 
any communication with S. Ambrose. The young western 
emperor was now in Gaul. He gave promise of a noble 
reign, being just and equitable, tender-hearted, pure in life,' 
and sedulous in imperial duties. He was but twenty years 
old, and he was still unbaptized. He looked forward to 
receiving the sacrament of regeneration from Ambrose at 
Vienne, to which place he summoned him, partly for this 
purpose, chiefly to obtain from him release from the gilded 
bondage in which he was held by Arbogastes. Valentinian 
anxiously awaited the coming of Ambrose. "Think you 
that I shall sea my father?" he asked. But in May, 392, he 
rashly risked a contest with his powerful general and master. 
He received Arbogastes on the throne, and, as the count 
approached with some appearance of respect, delivered to 
him a paper, which dismissed him from all his employments. 
" My authority," replied Arbogastes, contemptuously, ''does 
not depend on the smiles or frowns of a monarch," and he 
cast the paper on the ground. Three days after, on Whit- 
sun Eve, May 15, Valentinian was strangled by Arbogastes 
in his palace. His body was conveyed with decent pomp 
to the sepulchre in Milan ; and the archbishop pronounced 
a funeral oration to commemorate his virtues and deplore 
his misfortunes. He spoke of the murdered prince as one 
who had longed for baptism, and therefore received its 
benefits. He represented him as baptized by Christ Him- 
self, because human offices were wanting. Otherwise, 

* In Matth. Horn. 82. 

3 When he gave a feast, he fasted himself ; he dech'ned even to look on a beautiful 


» *l » » 

b b • « • 

(, V ^ 


I oo Lives of the Saints. ^^^^^ y. 

reasoned the loving saint, catechumens dying for Christ 
could be no true martyrs ; " but if they were baptized in 
their own blood, Valentinian was baptized by his piety and 
desire." He proceeded, in words which allude to VirgiFs 
lament for M-arcellus, to speak of offering the Eucharist for 
Valentinian's soul. " Give the holy Mysteries to my hands, 

give the heavenly sacraments Not with flowers will I 

strew his tomb, but will bedew his spirit with the odour of 

On the murder of Valentinian, Arbogastes the Gaul, whose 
authority over the troops was without competitor, hesitated 
to assume the purple, which had never yet been polluted by 
a barbarian. He placed Eugenius, a rhetorician, on the 
throne. The elevation of Eugenius was an act of military 
violence ; but the Pagans of the West hailed his accession 
with the most eager joy and the fondest hopes. Throughout 
Italy the temples were reopened, the smoke of sacrifice 
ascended from all quarters, the entrails of victims were ex- 
plored for signs of victory. The frontiers were guarded by 
all the terrors of the old religion. The statue of Jupiter the 
Thunderer, placed on the fortifications amid the Julian Alps, 
looked defiance on the advances of the Christian emperor. 
The images of the gods were unrolled on the banners, and 
Hercules was borne in triumph at the head of the army. 
Eugenius restored the Altar of Victory in the senate, but hesi- 
tated about the temple estates which had been granted away, 
lest pecuniary loss should stimulate Christian zeal into con- 
spiracy against his throne and life. 

Ambrose fled from Milan, for the soldiery boasted that 
they would stable their horses in the churches, and press the 
clergy to fill their legions ; and Eugenius, the renegade, was 
coming in state to Milan. From Bologna, whither Ambrose 
had betaken himself, the saint addressed a letter to Eugenius. 
" How," he asked, "can you make offerings to Christ? How 

Dec. 7.] 

61 Ambrose. loi 

can priests distribute your offerings? Everything that is 
done by the Pagans will be imputed to you." At Milan 
Eugenius made presents to the clergy, but they were indig- 
nantly rejected. When he sought admission to the churches 
he was repulsed. 

In the meantime Ambrose in his exile was attending a 
ceremony for which he exhibited great partiality — the trans- 
lation of relics. The bodies of Vitalis and Agricola, martyrs 
of Bologna, were ** invented," and then translated. The 
bodies had been laid among the l)ones of Jews, but were 
discovered by means of the nails which transfixed S. Agri- 
cola, some crumbling remains of wood which the inventors 
were pleased to regard as part of the cross of the saint, and 
some bottles of blood which were miraculously, or sus- 
piciously, preserved with the relics. S. Ambrose was not, 
however, the inventor of these remains — the discovery was 
due to the bishop of Bologna — but he assisted at the trans- 
lation, and carried off some of the wood and nails, which 
were liberally given to him. At that time the bodies them- 
selves were not parcelled out, so that a martyr might be 
distributed in particles over the globe. ^ 

The battle of Aquileja saw the rout of Arbogastes, and 
the fall of Paganism, never again to raise its head. Euge- 
nius was put to death, and his children brought up to abhor 
his memory. 

Ambrose received the news in an autograph letter from 
Theodosius. He carried it to the church, placed it on the 
altar, and held it in his hand whilst offering the sacrifice. In 
his answer he advised the emperor to show mercy to the 
conquered, and especially to such as had fled for sanctuary 
to Christian churches. Then Ambrose went to Aquileja, 

* A law of Theodosius, in 386, forbids the carrying of bodies from one place to 
another, and the sale of relics of martyrs. S. Augustine speaks of monks trafficking 
in relics (De Oper. Monach. c. 28), Paulinus, Vit. Amb. c. 27. 

I02 Lives of the Saints. \!b^,^. 

pleaded for the prisoners in person, and obtained their 
pardon. Theodosius, with courtly politeness, assured Am- 
brose that he attributed his victory, not to his own superior 
generalship, but to the efficacy of the prayers of the saint. 

On reaching Milan, Theodosius abstained from commu- 
nion, on account of the blood he had shed in battle, till the 
arrival of his children, whom he had sent for. These were 
Honorius and, probably, his sister Placidia, for Arcadius did 
not leave Constantinople. Theodosius presented them to 
Ambrose to receive his blessing. As he knew that he had 
not long to live, his speedy death having been Announced to 
him by S. John of Egypt, but also, more certainly, by a drop- 
sical habit, Theodosius divided his empire between Arcadius 
and Honorius. To the latter he gave the West, and Ambrose 
for a guide. 

When Rome heard of the triumph of Theodosius, the 
senate met in solemn debate to consider the rival claims of 
Jupiter and Christ to the adoration of the Roman people. 
We have two accounts of this debate — one from the pen of 
the Christian poet, Prudentius, the other from that of the 
heathen Zosimus. According to the former, Jupiter was out- 
voted by a large number of suffrages. The decision was fol- 
lowed by a general desertion of their ancestral deities by 
the obsequious minority; but according to Zosimus, the 
senate firmly, but respectfully, declared to Theodosius that 
they adhered to their ancient deities. Theodosius refused 
any longer to assign funds from the public revenue, to main- 
tain the charge of the idolatrous worship. The senate re- 
monstrated, saying that if it ceased to be supported at the 
national cost, it would cease to be the national rite. This 
argument was more likely to confirm than to shake the deter- 
mination of the Christian emperor. From this time the 
temples were deserted; the priests and priestesses, deprived 
of their maintenance, were scattered abroad. 

Dec. 7.] 

.S. Ambrose. 103 

Theodosius died the year after the defeat of Eugenius 
(395), and S. Ambrose made his funeral oration. Next year 
Ambrose had the gratification of exhuming and translating 
the bodies of SS. Nazarius and Celsus.^ The blood was still 
fresh, " as if shed yesterday," and the bodies entire. The 
blood was sopped up in rags and in plaster, and was thus 
distributed. No one had heard of SS. Nazarius and Celsus 
till these bodies were found. The story of. their invention 
has an unpleasantly suspicious odour. S. Ambrose was pro- 
bably imposed upon by some one who had committed a 
murder, and wished to disguise it by an appeal to the credu- 
lity of his times. 

In 396 the emperor Honorius gave shows to the people of 
Milan. The wild beasts ranged round the amphitheatre, and 
roared and rushed on one another. But this was poor sport 
to those who desired to see human blood shed ; and the 
people clamoured to have a criminal named Cresconius 
flung to the beasts. Cresconius had taken refiige in a church. 
Stilicho, who governed Honorius, sent soldiers to remove the 
criminal, and he was brought to the amphitheatre amidst the 
exultant shouts of the bloodthirsty mob. But two leopards 
let loose on the man, flew at the soldiers who introduced him 
to the arena, and injured them. Stilicho pretended to believe 
that this was a punishment for removing the man from sanc- 
tuary, and sent Cresconius away. Ambrose was highly 
incensed at this violation of the privileges of the Church. 

There was at Verona a virgin named Indicia, whom Zeno, 
the bishop, had dedicated to God. She had been some time 
at Rome with S. Marcellina, but then went back to Verona, 
where she kept herself in hiding for some months, and the 
report spread that she had given birth to a baby, which she 
had killed and hidden. Her brother-in-law, Maximus, in 
whose house she was living at the time, and who ought to 

* The account has been already given, July 28, p. 593. 

I04 Lives of the Saints. p^ec. 7. 

have known what went on in it, believed that this was true, 
and complained to the bishop Syagrius of the scandal to his 
house and to the Church. The bishop asked for witnesses. 
Three women had spread the report, and two men said that 
they had heard it from these women. The men appeared 
before the bishop, but the women refused to state the grounds 
for their belief that Indicia had been delivered of a child. 
Syagrius ordered that the nun should be examined by some 
matrons. But to this Indicia would not submit. She ap- 
pealed to S. Ambrose against the indignity. He assembled 
a council of bishops to discuss this delicate matter. They 
pronounced the two men of Verona excommunicate for 
having given ear to the tittle-tattle of the women about the 
nun. And Maximus, her brother-in-law, was also cast out of 
the communion of the Church. Ambrose wrote an angry letter 
to Syagrius, rebuking him severely for having dared^to pro- 
pose such a proceeding as a committee of matrons to visit a 
nun, and remarked, moreover, that indications of a recent 
confinement were often deceptive, and that the matrons, 
misled by appearances, might have given a wrong verdict. 

S. Ambrose was next engaged in abating the dissensions 
of the Church of Vercellae, which kept that see long vacant. 
He wrote a long letter on the subject, exhorting the people 
of Vercellae to proceed in a right spirit to the election of a 
bishop. He referred to S. Eusebius of Vercellae as the first 
Western prelate who had combined the clerical with the 
monastic life, and as having " preferred exile to ease," and 
** raised the standard of confession." He also warned them 
against two monks who had quitted the monastery near 
Milan, and were propagating the views of Jovinian that the 
influx of asceticism, which was deluging the Church, was, in 
reality, an invasion of Manichaean error. Afterwards he 
himself visited Vercellae, and procured the election of the 
pious Honoratus. 

Dec. 7.] 

S. Far a. 105 

His own noble life was drawing to a close. Stilicho, on 
hearing that he was taken ill, begged him, by messengers of 
high rank, to pray that he might yet live for Italy. Ambrose 
made the memorable reply : " I have not so lived among 
you as that I should be ashamed to live ; yet I fear not to 
die, for we have a good Lord." From 5 p.m. on Good 
Friday until shortly after midnight his lips incessantly moved 
in silent prayer ; and after receiving from Honoratus " the 
Lord's Body as a good Viaticum,*' he breathed his last on 
the 4th of April, 397. 

His body reposes in the basilica of San Ambrogio at 
Milan. He is represented in art with a beehive, and as one 
of the four Doctors of the Early Church. 

S. FAR A, V. 

(A.D. 657.) 

[Roman Mart3Tology. In some Martyrologies on April 3. " The 
Deposition of S. Burgundofara." Authorities : — Mention in the Life of 
S. Columbanus by Jonas (d. 665), and in the Life of S. Eustatbius by 
Jonas; also, ** Gesta in coenobio Ebroicensi in dioecesi Galliae Meldensi," 
in Mabillon, Acta SS. O. S. B. ii.] 

S. Fara, or Burgundofara, was the sister of S. Faro and 
S. Cagnoald. Their father was Agneric, a powerful Bur- 
gundian noble. He was invested with the title which may 
be translated "Companion of the King;" and he was 
attached to Theodebert of Austrasia. When S. Columbanus 
visited Agneric in 612, the noble brought his little daughter 
before him, and asked him to bless her. The saint did so, 
but at the same time dedicated her to the Lord* This little 
girl is known to us only under the name of Burgundofara, 
or Fara, in reality a title, for Fara is the same as Bara, or 
Baroness, and Burgundofara really means " The Burgundian 

io6 Lives of the Saints. p^c./. 

Baroness." When Fara reached the age of fourteen her 
father wished to see her married ; she, however, fell ill, and 
was at the point of death. In the meantime the abbot 
Eustace, the successor of Columbanus at Luxeuil, returning 
from Italy to give an account to Clothair II. of the mission 
to his spiritual father with which tlie king had charged him, 
passed by the villa of Agneric. At sight of the sick girl he 
reproached her father witji obstructing her desire to enter 
the religious life, and Agneric agreed, if she recovered, to 
leave his daughter to follow her will. Eustace procured 
that recovery. But scarcely had he departed for Soissons 
when the father, unmindful of his promise, attempted again 
to constrain his daughter to a marriage, which she resisted. 

She then escaped, and took refuge at Soissons in the 
church of S. Peter. Her father's retainers followed her 
thither, with orders to bring her away from the sanctuary, 
and threaten her with death. " Do you believe then," she 
said to them, " that I fear death ? Make the trial upon the 
pavement of this church. Ah ! how happy should I be to 
give my life in so just a cause to Him who has given His 
life for me ! " She held out until the return of Abbot 
Eustace, who finally delivered her from her father, and 
obtained from him a grant of land on which Burgundofara 
might found the monastery which was called after her, Fare- 

Her example drew many followers from among the wives 
and daughters of the Frank nobility ; she had even an Anglo- 
Saxon princess, Earcongotha, daughter of Earconbert, under 
her direction. Burgundofara lived about forty years in her 
abbey, faithfully observing the stem rule of S. Columbanus, 
and maintaining it steadily against the suggestions of the 
false brother Agrestin, who attempted to engage her in his 
revolt against Eustace and the traditions of their common 
master. " I will have none of thy novelties," she said to 

Dec. 7.] 

S. Far a, 107 

him; '*and*as for those whose detractor thou art, I know 
them, I know their virtues, I have received the doctrine of 
salvation from them, and I know that their instructions have 
opened the gates of heaven to many. Leave me quicklyy 
and give up thy foolish thoughts." 

Some young novices, heartily sick of the life they led in 
the monastery, made an attempt to escape by night and 
return to the duties and pleasures of life in the world.* Some 
had descended a ladder, and were outside the detested 
prison, others were getting out of the window, when a globe 
of fire shot athwart the heavens, and exploded close to the 
convent. The blaze, the noise, woke the whole monastery, 
and the fugitives were prevented from escaping, and severely 
chastised. Two young nuns found it irksome to have to 
make confession of their faults three times a day, as enjoined 
by the rule of S. Columbanus, and ran away. They were 
pursued and brought back. In the monotony and routine 
of the convent liffe they pined and died, and Fara cast out 
their bodies to lie beyond the hallowed precincts of the 
monastery. A sister could not satisfy her hunger — she was 
a growing girl — with the short commons provided in the 
refectory, and she was wont to steal to the kitchen or 
larder and get more food. One day she saw a great hog 
seated at table beside her, consuming her food, and knew 
that it was the spirit of greediness which she had encouraged 
and nourished. 

S. Fara is invoked for sore eyes. 

Some of her relics are in the parish church of Faremoutier, 
others in that of Champeaux. , 

* " De canino more relicta viscerum putrimenta denuo sumere velle." 

I o8 L ives of the Saints. [Dec. s. 

December 8. 

The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. 

S. Macarius, M. at Alexandria; a.d. 250. 

S. EuTYCHiANUS, Po^e of Roftu ; a.d. 283. 

S. Euchbrius, B. of Trhfes. 

S. Soph RON I us, B. of Cyprus. 

S. RoMARic, Ab. of Luxeuil; a.d. 653. 



[Modem Roman Martyrology. Anciently: — "The Conception of 
the most sacred Virgin Mary, mothei: of our Lord God Jesus Christ." 
The Oriental Menseas and Kalendars have ** The Conception of Anna," 
on the 9th Dec. Anglican Reformed Kalendar, ** The Conception of the 
B. V. Ma^." According to the statement of the Abbot Engelbert, 
who wrote in the 13th cent., a certam Abbot Alfinus was commanded 
by God to introduce the festival of the Immaculate Conception by Anna 
of the Virgin Mary.* This Alfinus was no doubt Helchinius, mentioned 
in the ancient Breviary of Tours. At first it was left free to the people 
to observe it or not, as by the Council of Oxford of 1222, but not so a 
synod of London in 1287. It was again enjoined in a synod of London 
in 1328. It was ordered by the Council of Sens in 1247, and by the 
Council of Bayonne in 1300* The festival was introduced at Rome 
only after Benedict XIII. Sixtus IV. published two constitutions ap- 
pointing this festival to be observed throughout the Church, and issued 
an office for it, but without making the festival one of obligation. Pope 
Clement VIII. elevated it to the rank of semi-double, Clement IX. 
gave it an octave, and Clement XI. constituted it a major festival **de 
praecepto" in 1708. The festival was, however, everywhere only that 
of the "Conception of Mary" till the promulgation of the decree of 
1854 by Pius IX., making the Immaculate Conception of Mary an 
article of faith. The Franciscans of Naples asked permission of Pius 
VII. to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of S. Mary in the preface 
of the Mass, and this favour was accorded them by bull, dated May 17, 

* Pez. Thesaur. Noviss. Anecdot. t. i. p. 705. 


Dec. 80 

•S. Macarius. 


1806. Many Spanish and French dioceses and religious Orders asked 
the same favour, and it was accorded them. On Sept. 20, 1839, the 
Congregation of Sacred Rites granted the bishop of Ghent permission 
to add to the Litany of Loreto the invocation, ** Queen conceived with- 
out sin, pray for us." Gregory XVI., in 1840, received petitions from 
all the Catholic world requesting him to proclaim the Immaculate Con- 
ception as an article of faith. This proclamation was, however, made 
by Pius IX. in 1854.] 

Y the Immaculate Conception of Mary the Virgin 
is meant that, as Jeremiah and John the Baptist 
were sanctified from their mothers' wombs, so was 
she purified from all stain of original sin at her 
conception j thus of her, far more than of Jeremiah, it might 
be said, "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; 
and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified 
thee ;" ^ or of the Baptist, " He shall be filled with the Holy 
Ghost, even from his mother's womb."^ 

(a.d. 250.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus. Authority: — S. Dionysius of 
Alexandria in his Epistle on the Sufferings of the Church in Egypt ; 
preserved by Eusebius, H. E. lib. vi. 41.] 

In the persecution of Decius, Macarius, a Libyan by birth, 
" after much solicitation from the judge to get him to re- 
nounce his faith, yet remained inflexible, and was burnt 

* Jer. i. 5. 

' Luke i. 15. 

no Lives of the Saints. ^^ g 

(a.d. 283.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, &c.] 

Of Eutychianus, pope of Rome, who succeeded Felix, next 
to nothing is known. The statement made by Usuardus and 
the Roman martyrology, that " he with his own hands buried 
three hundred and forty-two martyrs," is a manifest exagge- 
ration. He is thought to have suffered martyrdom himself, 
and was laid in the cemetery of S. Calixtus. He was a Tuscan 
by birth. 

(a.d. 653.) 

[Roman, Galilean, and Benedictine Martyroiogies. At Toul on 
Dec. 9. Authority: — A Life by an anonymous monk, according to 
Mabillon, nearly a contemporary, in Mabillon, Acta SS. O. S. B. t. ii. ; 
also the Lives of S. Eustace of Luxeuil, and of S. Amatus.] * 

RoMARic was the son of Romulf, a noble in the Vosges. 
In the struggle between Theodebert and Theoderic, Brunehild 
had Romulf put to death, and confiscated his lands. Romaric 
went to Metz, where Queen Brunehild held her court for 
Theodebert her grandson. She had by her Aridius, bishop 
of Lyons, a great favourite, the counsellor, if we may trust 
Fredegar, of the barbarous murder of S. Desiderius of 
Cahors. Romaric cast himself at the feet of the bishop, and 
implored his intercession to obtain the restoration of his 
estates. Aridius kicked him in the face, and drove him away 
with blows. Romaric took refuge in the church of S. Martin. 
Next day came news of the death of Theoderic. Romaric 

Dec. 8.] 

►S. Romaric. in 

was now safe ; but he seems to have been disgusted with the 

On the death of Theoderic or Thierry, Romaric occupied 
a high position at the court of Clothair II., then sole master 
of the three Frank kingdoms. One day S. Amatus of Luxeuil 
came into the Vosges, and was received by Romaric at his 
table. During the repast Amatus took up a silver dish, and 
said : " Thou seest this dish ; how many masters, or rather 
slaves, has it already had, and how many more will it still 
have? And thou, whether thou wilt or not, thou art its serf: 
for thou possessest it only to preserve it. But an account will 
be demanded of thee ; for it is written, * Your silver and gold 
shall rust, and that rust shall bear witness against you.' I 
am astonished that a man of great heart, very rich, and in- 
telligent, like yourself, should not remember the words of the 
Saviour, ' If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast, 
and give to the poor, and follow Me, and thou shalt have 
treasure in heaven.' " 

Romaric at once resolved on abandoning the world. He 
distributed his lands to the poor, with the exception of his 
ca^le of Habend, freed a number of serfs of both sexes, and 
went to Luxeuil, taking with him all that remained of his 
wealth, to become a monk. When he presented himself to 
the abbot to have his hair cut, according to the rite of admis- 
sion into the order, several of the serfs whom he had liberated 
appeared at the monastery for the same purpose. He gladly 
recognized his old servants, not only as brethren, but as 
superiors; for he sought the lowest occupations in the monas- 
tery, and surpassed all the. brethren in care for the culti- 
vation of the gardens, where he learned the psalter by heart 
as he laboured. After some years' residence there, during 
which time his friendship with Amatus became intimate and 
affectionate, the two friends left Luxeuil, where, for some un- 
known reason, they had incurred thp displeasure of the 

112 Lives of the Saints. ^^ g. 

abbot, Eustace. With his permission they went to Habend, 
and founded there a monastery for women, which has since 
borne the name of Remiremont. Amatus was charged with 
the government of the nuns, but soon devolved it on 
Romaric. In this celebrated abbey, which was immediately 
put under the rule of S. Columbanus by its two founders, 
everything was established on a magnificent scale, owing to 
the influx of nuns, and the liberality of the Austrasian 
kings. Remiremont soon became for women what Luxeuil 
already was for men. The number of nuns permitted the 
Iaius perennis to be organized by means of seven choirs, 
who alternately sang the praises of God in seven diflferent 
churches or chapels. The fervour and regularity of these 
virgins procured for the site occupied by their community 
the name of the " Holy Mount," which it retained for some 

Romaric directed it for thirty years. Before entering 
Luxeuil he had been married, and had three daughters ; the 
two younger took the veil in the monastery of their father. 
The eldest, who had married without the consent of Romaric, 
and without a fortune, attempted to reclaim a portion of her 
paternal inheritance. She sent to her father her first child, a 
girl, hoping that the heart of Romaric would soften, and that 
he would bestow on his grandchild what he had refused to 
his daughter. But his religious prejudices had stiffened into 
the one prevailing idea of monastic life, and had frozen out 
all the natural instincts of affection and principles of justice. 
He kept the child, placed her among the nuns, and she be- 
came eventually abbess of Remiremont. Then the mother, 
having a son, sent him, before he was even baptized, to his 
grandfather, still in the hope that the little babe would touch 
his heart, and obtain firom the old man a good inheritance. 
But Romaric acted with him as with his sister; he kept the 
child from the arms of its mother and the influence of home, 

Dec. 8.] 

kS. Romaric. 1 1 3 

to be nursed in the hard discipline of the mo^astery, and 
the child became eventually an abbot and a saint. 

There were two monasteries at Remiremont, one for 
women,, the other for men, side by side, but with a special 
superior for each of the communities. Monks and nuns 
were presumably to one another only as brothers and sisters ; 
but as this affection sometimes warmed beyond such rela- 
tions, or was thought to do so, the council of Agde, in 506, 
insisted on their separation. This injunction was, however, 
everywhere disregarded. The monastery of men, also placed 
under the rule of Columbanus by its two founders, felt the 
intolerable burden of their rule, and was ready to listen to 
Agrestin when he attempted to organize an insurrection 
against the tradition of Irish monachism. After he had been 
overcome by Eustace at the council of Micon, and repulsed 
by S. Burgundofara at Faremoutier, he was received by 
Amatus and Romaric, who were already biassed against the 
abbot of Luxeuil. The death of Agrestin, and the failure of 
his scheme, induced Amatus and Romaric to return into 
communion with Eustace. Amatus died on Sept. 13, 627. 
At the end of his life Romaric regained his olden courage, 
and began once more to play a political part in the affairs of 
his country. He had known, in the palace of the kings of 
Austrasia, the great and pious Pepin of Landen, whose son, 
Grimoald, had become all powerful as minister under King 
Sigibert, and threatened the rights and even the life of 
Dagobert, the young heir of this prince. Grimoald had the 
long locks of the prince — tokens of his royal rank — shorn 
off, and sent the youth to Ireland under the care of Dido, 
bishop of Poitiers, no doubt with instructions that he should 
not be suffered to return. Romaric, hearing of the ambition 
and designs of Grimoald, despite his age and presentiment 
of approaching death, descended from his mountain, and 
took his way to the palace, which he had not seen for thirty 



114 Lives of the Saints. \j^^^ g, 

years, to intimate to the nobles and to Grimoald the peril 
the country would run should such a course be pursued. 
He arrived in the middle of the night : Grimoald, on being 
informed of his approach, went to meet him with blazing | 

pine torches. At the sight of his father's friend, of this old | 

man of God, with his elevated and imposing stature and 
solemn aspect, he trembled. Then he embraced him with 
great respect, listened to his warnings with patience, but did 
not act upon them. Romaric retired laden with presents. 
Three days after, Romaric, who had returned to the monas- 
tery, visiting on his way the cultivated lands which belonged 
to it, was dead and buried beside Amatus, his friend and 

A woman, kneeling by the one tomb which enclosed the 
two bodies, thought that she heard Amatus and Romaric con- , 
versing together in their narrow bed, and the contemporary 
biographer has condescended to record the delusion, or 
poetic fancy, of the woman. 

Dec. 9,] 

6*. Leocadia. 115 

December 9. 

S. Syrus, B. ofPavia ; ist cent.(^ * 

S. Rkstitutus, B,M. at Carthage; yd cent. 

S. Proculus, B, of Verona ; 3rd cent. 

S. Valkria, V.M. at Limoges; -yd cent? 

SS. Petbr, Successus, Bassianus, and Others, MM, in 

S. Leocadia, V.M, at Toledo; a.d. 303. 
S. GoRGONiA, Matr. at Neunanzen; circ. a.d. 37X. 
S. Cypriak, Ab. qfPerigueux; circ. a.d. 581. 
S. Budoc, B. ofDolin Brittany; 7th cent. 
S. Lesmo, H. at Glentatnire in Scotland. 
B.Peter Fourrier, P.C. at Gray near Besan^on; a.d. 


(A.D. 303.) 

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, &c. Roman and Spanish Martyrologies. 
Authority: — The Acts of the Martyrdom, not ancient.] 

LEOCADIA is not mentioned by Prudentius 
of Saragossa (d. 405), who celebrated most of the 
Spanish saints. But it is certain that the fourth 
council of Toledo (a.d. 633) was held in a church 
dedicated to this saint \^ so that in the seventh century she 
received veneration. The Acts, which are not very trust- 
worthy, say that she was of noble birth, and a native of 
Toledo. She was summoned before Dacian, governor of 
Spain under the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, and 

* Pretended to have been disciple of the Apostles; probably belongs to the 
4th cent. 
^ A fabulous personage known through the apocryphal Acts of S. Martial. 
3 Built by King Sisebut, who died 6x5. 

1 1 6 Lives of the Saints. ^^^^ ^ 

was scourged, then sent back to prison and reserved for 
another trial. Whilst in her dungeon, suffering from the 
blows she had received, she heard of the martyrdom of S. 
Eulalia at Merida, and the account of the sufferings she had 
undergone produced such an effect on her nerves, shaken by 
the treatment she had herself endured, that she died in 
prison. She is said to have scratched a cross on the wall of 
her prison, and to have kissed it before she died. There 
are three churches in Toledo dedicated to her: one built 
over her tomb, another occupies the site of the prison and 
contains the stone on which she scratched a cross, the third 
stands where was her family mansion. According to an 
absurd legend, when S. Ildefons of Toledo (d. 667) was pray- 
ing in the church of S. Leocadia, on her festival, in the pre- 
sence of King Receswinth, the tomb opened of its own accord, 
and the martyr, rising from it, took the archbishop by the 
hand and proclaimed in a loud voice, " O Ildefons, by thee 
the life of Our Lady has been maintained ! " alluding to his 
defence of the immaculate virginity of the Virgin Mary 
against the heretics who argued that she had become a 
mother by Joseph of " the brethren of the Lord." Whilst 
she was talking, Ildefons, with a prudent eye to relics, got 
hold of the king's sword with his disengaged hand, and as 
the virgin martyr was gracefully retiring back into her grave, 
he snipped off part of her veil, and this fragment is preserved 
in the church, and receives the most devout homage to this 

On another occasion the Blessed Virgin Mary herself 
appeared to S. Ildefons and presented him with a chasuble, 
saying, " Receive this offering at my hands, which I have 
brought thee from my Son's treasury." 

The Church of Spain instituted a festival on Jan. 21, in 
commemoration of this latter marvel. 

If actual fraud was not on both occasions resorted to, to 

Dec. 9.] 

S. Gorgonia. 117 

help on the cause of orthodoxy, unscrupulous partisans in- 
vented these tales for the purpose of giving support to a 
controverted dogma. Relics at Toledo, at Oviedo, Soissons, 
and S. Ghislain in Flanders; also at Vic-sur-Aisne near 


(A.D. 371.) 

[Roman Martyrology. -Greek Menaea on Feb. 23 ; the Martyrology 
of the Basilian Monks (Grseco-Italian) on Dec. 9. Authority : — Mention 
in the writings of her brother, S. Gregory Nazianzen.] 

GoRGONiA was the only daughter of S. Gregory, bishop of 
Nazianzus and his wife S. Nonna. She was apparently their 
eldest child. Their two sons were Gregory and Caesarius. 
Gregory, the father, belonged to the sect of the Hypsistarians, 
a curious mixture of heathenism, Judaism, and Christianity. 
These sectarians venerated light and fire, they observed the 
Sabbath, and abstained from meats. But they also believed 
some of the truths of the Gospel. 

Gregory was brought into the Church by his wife Nonna, 
and then was baptized and consecrated bishop of Nazianzus. 
Gregory, his son, was bom the same year, but Caesarius 
was bom some years after. S. Gorgonia was married and 
lived a most virtuous, devout life, though unbaptized. She 
loved psalmody and adorning churches. She was conside- 
rate and generous to the poor, devout in prayer, grave, and 
dressed quietly. She was baptized when quite an old 
woman, along with her husband, her sons, and grandchildren. 

Her confidence in God was so great that after a fall which 
had done her some internal injury, she would not, out of 
modesty, place herself in the hands of physicians. She was 
healed by allowing Nature uninterfered-with to repair what 

1 1 8 Lives of the Saints. ip^c. 9. 

was amiss. Had she committed herself to the surgeons, 
their bungling and ignorant operations would probably have 
killed her. 

On another occasion when ill, and despaired of by the 
doctors, she went to church, and placing her head on the 
altar watered it with her tears, and mingled her tears with 
the Eucharist which was given her. She returned home 
perfectly well, to the confusion of the medical practitioners. 


(7TH CENT.) 

[The day of the death of S. Budoc was Dec. 8, but the festival is 
transferred to Dec. 9, in the diocese of Dol, on account of the 8th being 
the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In the diocese of L^on the 
Feast of S. Budoc was formerly observed on Nov. iS. The Grallican 
Mart3n-ology of Saussaye on Nov. 19. Authorities : — A life of the 
Saint in the Leon and Dol Breviaries, and in Legendaries used by 
Albert le Grand. Lobineau is angry with Le Grand for his Life, and 
says it is "remplie de fables," but the "-fables" are in the Breviary.*] 

The legend of S. Budoc of Dol is one of those delightful 
tales with which the long winter evenings over the fireside 
were wiled away in the Middle Ages, and which, from the 
mouths of minstrels and professional reciters passed into the 
sanctuary , ^nd losing its poetic form, was read in prose in 
cathedral and church choirs, as a narrative of facts to be be- 
lieved. The story ranks with " Pierre de Provence and the 
Beautiful Maguelonne," " Hirlanda," '' Robert the Devil," 
" The Seven Sons of Aymon," " Genoveva of Brabant," 
" Caesar Octavianus," and " Fortunatus and his Wishing 

* As an amusing instance of critical incapacity, it is wotth while quoting M. D. L. 
Miorcec de Kerdanet, editor of the edition of Albert le Grand published in 1837, 
** Cette legende n'est point un conte . . . etle a toutes ses preuves dans la tradition 
et dans les actes des ^glises de Dol et de Leon." 

Dec 9.] 'S'. BudoC. 119 

Once upon a time in the days of old, the count of Goelo, 
in Brittany, sought in marriage Azenor, daughter of the count 
of L^on, who lived at Brest. The beautiful Azenor, " tall as 
a palm, bright as a star," consented to his proposals, and 
the marriage was solemnized with great pomp, " with sea- 
fights in the gulf and the port, and all sorts of pastimes 
to exhibit the public rejoicings, during the fifteen days that 
the wedding lasted." The count and his wife chose as 
their residence Castel-Audren, near a large mere full of fish. 

They had not been n\arried a year before the mother of 
Azenor died, and her father married again. The stepmother 
was, it may be at once conjectured, of the type usual in tales 
of this sort.^ The new countess of L^on was filled with 
envy of the beauty, virtue, and good fame of the countess 
Azenor, and she resolved to compass her ruin. She began 
accordingly to instil suspicion of Azenor's chastity into 
the minds of both her husband and father. The poison 
of suspicion had its desired effect. The count of Goelo 
shut up his wife in a tower that commanded the mere, and 
forbade her to speak to any one. In her tribulation, the 
maligned countess prayed to the Holy Bridget of Ireland, 
her patroness. The stepmother, not satisfied with the in- 
carceration of Azenor,. but thirsting for her blood,* gave her 
calumnies further shape and consistency. The count of 
Goelo assembled all his barons and council to judge his 
wife, accused of adultery. The unfortunate Azenor was 
brought into the hall fbr trial, and " seated on a little stool 
in the midst of the floor." The heads of the accusation 
were read out, and she was asked what she had to answer. 
She sobbed and declared her innocence. But in spite of 

1 1* 

Matrem habuit novercam, 
Nequitiae plenam, p«r quam 

Prodiit calumnia." — Proper of Dol. 
^ " Noverca vero, sanguinem innocentis 
Azenoris sumxnopere sitiens," &c. — Ibid. 

I20 Lives of the Saints. [Dcco. 

there being no evidence for her conviction, she was con- 
demned to be sent back in disgrace to her father at Brest 

The count of Ldon tried her, and she was sentenced to 
death by being put into a barrel and cast into the sea, to be 
carried wherever the winds and tides listed. The sentence 
was executed. The barrel floated five months on the ocean, 
tossed up and down.^ The barrel swam along the Cornish 
coast, doubled the Land's End, and drifted towards Ireland. 
During the five months' voyage, Azenor was supplied with 
victuals by an angel, who poked them in to her through the 
bung-hole. Whilst in the barrel, moreover, Azenor became 
a mother, the angel and S. Bridget assisting her as medical 
attendant and midwife.^ As soon as the babe was bom 
she made the sign of the cross on his brow, made him kiss 
the crucifix, and waited her opportunity for getting him 
baptized. The child began to talk even in the cask, before 
they came ashore.* 

At last the barrel was rolled ashore at AberfTraw, or 
Youghal harbour, in Ireland, in the county of Cork. An 
Irish peasant, thinking he had found a barrel of wine, when 
he saw this cask stranded, after performing capers expres- 
sive of his delight, got a gimlet and was proceeding to tap the 
barrel, that he might sit and drink his full of its contents, 
when the babe from within shouted, " Don't hurt the cask." 
" And, pray, may I ask, who may you be there inside ? " 

* " Hoc parato jadldo 
Mensibus quinque, dolio 

Mari mansit devia." — Proper of Dol. 
2 "Azenor filium in dolio peperit." — Lect. Brev. Ldon. 

** Tandem peperit filium 
Azenor, intra dolium 

Quadam ut in regiS. 
Ubi, cum luce splendidS 
Ministrans sancta Brigitta 

Dabat necessaria.'*— Hymn in L6on Breviary. 

• "Natus vero Budocus matridixisse jjerhibetur, Ne timeas mater, quia Dominus 
nobiscum est." — Lect. Brev. Leon, 

Dec. 9.] 

S. Budoc. 121 

inquired the Irishman, withdrawing the gimlet. " I am a 
child desiring baptism," replied the babe. " Go at once to 
the abbot of this monastery, to which this land belongs, and 
bid him come and baptize me."* The Irishman tore off to 
Youghal, and gave the message to the abbot. " You are 
deceiving me," said the abbot. " And is it likely I should 
be telling your reverence of my find on the sea shore," 
answered the man, " if there had been anything better than 
a baby in the barrel ? " 

The abbot went down to the shore, stove in the cask, and 
extracted the countess of Goelo and her son.^ The child 
was baptized and named Budoc, and was educated by the 
abbot of YoughaL 

In the mean time the wicked stepmother had fallen 
very ill, and being at the point of death, confessed that she 
had fabricated the accusations against Azenor, and that 
they were wholly destitute of truth. When she had made 
this confession, she died. The count of Goelo, filled with 
grief at having sent away his wife on a false charge, started 
on an extensive and somewhat vague expedition in quest of 
the barrel. His good luck led him to Ireland, and he dis- 
embarked at Youghal, where he was happily reunited to his 
wife, and made acquaintance with his son. The count then 
had a stately ship got ready, and prepared to return to 

^ " Infans ab intus loquitur : 
Ne dolium lania. 
Piscator, mirans auditu, 
Retulit : Qui est ibi tu ? 

Baptizandus sum eja. 
Vade, inquit, quae vidisti 
Die abbati det ut Christi 

Mihi baptismalia." — Lect. Brev. Leon. 

' In the Dominican convent at Youghal was formerly preserved a miraculoiis 
image of a mother and child, and the story was told there that a great piece of wood 
had been washed ashore, and the prior was informed in vision that inside it was a 
Madonna and child. — ** Monasticon Hibemicon " of Archdall, ed. by Dr. Moran, 
t. i. p. 151. One is led to suspect in the story of Budoc a trace of the myth of 
Velund in the Wilkina Saga. 

122 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 9. 

Brittany with his wife and child. But unfortunately the sea- 
voyage had upset his constitution, and he died before he 
was ready to embark. Azenor, not caring to return to 
Brittany, dismissed the servants of her husband, and devoted 
herself to good works, prayer, and the care of her son. 
Budoc, at an early age, resolved on embracing the religious 
life, and was invested with the monastic habit by the abbot 
of Youghal. According to another account, Azenor returned 
to Brittany and built a convent on the headland of Raz, be- 
tween Goulien and Lanourec, where she died. Two springs 
dedicated to S. Azenor are seen at Languengar. Women 
drink from that of Clesmeur to augment their supply of 
milk. A young man once took a draught from the holy 
well, and to his horror found his breasts swell and fill with 
milk. His tears, his prayers, his burning shame softened 
the saint, and she kindly suffered the fountains of his bosom 
to fail. 

It is possible that the Azenor of these springs and the 
ruined convent at Raz may be different from the mother of 
S. Budoc. 

S. Budoc, after the death of his father and mother and 
that of the abbot, was elected to rule the monastery of 
Youghal. On the decease of the king of Ireland, the natives 
raised him to the temporal and spiritual thrones, making 
him at once sovereign of all Ireland and archbishop of 
Armagh.^ For two years Budoc exercised the fatiguing 
duties of his double rule, and he then convoked the estates 
of his realm to announce his . resignation. But the Irish 
were wild with despair. They surrounded the palace and 
watched lest he should attempt to escape. But one night 
as he was praying in his metropolitan church, an angel bade 
him go to the sea-shore, take boat, and cross to Brittany. 

^ He is unknown to Irish historians. " Ab Hibemiae populo Rex et Archiepiscopus 
desideratbsime nominatur, exoptatur, deligitur." — Brev. Leon. 

Dec. 9.3 

S. Budoc. 123 

He left his palace, found the guards asleep, or drunk, came 
to the shore, but found there no boat, only a stone trough. 
He boldly stepped into this, and it floated him across the 
sea to Porspoder in the. diocese of Ldon.^ The natives 
drew the stone coffer out of the water, and built a chapel 
and hermitage for the holy man. 

Having spent a year at Porspoder, Budoc, who could not 
endure the roar of the waves, had his stone box mounted on 
a cart, and having yoked two oxen to it, resolved to follow 
the cart, and settle wherever the oxen halted. The cart 
broke down at Plourin, and there Budoc settled down for a 
short while. But he could not remain there long. His 
remonstrances with certain nobles who had acted in a dis- 
orderly manner obliged him to depart, and he went to Dol, 
where he was well received by S. Maglorius, the bishop, who 
soon after resigned his see in favour of Budoc. The saint 
ruled the church of Dol about twenty years, and died in 
the early part of the seventh century. 

Probably the only element of truth in this long story is, 
that he was a hermit at Porspoder, and then at Plourin, and 
was afterwards made bishop of Dol. 

^ ** Erat autem illi velut area lapidea quaedam, concava petra, in qua noctu jacere 
solitus erat, quam, angeli ministro, mari proximam conspexit ; cujus suasu, tanquam 
navi quadam usus, transfretavit."—Brev. Leon. ** Habebat quamdam i>etram 
viridem, velut arcam . . . et audivit vocem angeli, dicentis : Pone te super petram. 
Mox obedivit voci angeli, et petra, velut navigium, portavit eum supra mare." — 
Brev. Dol. The origin of the legend of saints boating in stone troughs, which is not 
uncommon among Breton saints, probably was this. In ancient Celtic mytho> 
logy, the dead were supposed to be shipped across the western sea to Glasinis, 
the Isles of the Blessed, and they were often buried in boats in which to make the 
necessary voyage. The Christian abbots and bishops were buried in stone coffins, 
and among the vulgar it was said of them that they shipped to the Blessed Land in 
boats of stone. 

1 24 Lives of the Saints. p^c. xo. 

December lo. 

SS. Carpophorus, P.M.t and Abundius, D.M. at SpoUio; 

A.b. 303. 
SS. EuLALiA AND JuLiA, VV. MM, at Merida; a.d. 303. 
SS. Menas, Hbrmogbnbs, and Eugraphius, mm, at AUxatt' 

dria; circ. a.d. 308. 
SS. Mbrcurius and Comp., MM. at Lentini; circ. a.d. 313. 
S. Mblchiadbs, Po^ at Rome; a.d. 3x4. 
S. Gbnellus, M. at Ancyra; circ. a.d. 362. 
S. Dbiniol, B. of Bangor; jth cent, 
S. Sandocus, B, o/Vienne; circ. a.d. 650. 
Thb Translation of thb Holy Housb to Loreto, a.d. 1294. 


.(a.d. 303.) 

[Roman and Spanish Martyrologies. Usuardus, &c. Authority: — 
A hymn of Prudentius (d. circ. 406), and the Acts of later date.] 

EULALIA was only twelve years old when . the 
persecution of the Church under Diocletian broke 
out in Spain. She belonged to a noble family of 
Merida. Fired with enthusiasm for her faith 
she presented herself before the judge, Dacian, and declared a Christian. Going up to a little idol that stood 
before an altar in the court, she threw it down, and trampled 
on the cake that was laid before it, and then spat in the face 
of the governor. By order of Dacian she was partially 
stripped ^nd her sides were torn by hooks, then lighted 
torches were applied to her wounds. Her long hair caught 
fire, blazed up, and she eagerly inhaled the flame, and, ex- 
hausted by her tortures, sank and died. The executioners 
cast off her body from the rack, and a light snow fell and 

Dec. lo.] 'S'kS- Menus, Hermogenes, &c. 125 

veiled it. Pnidentius relates that a. white dove flew out of 
her lips when she expired, but this is an addition of popular 
imagination during the century between the martyrdom 
and the date of the writing of the hymn. 

Her maid Julia is said by the Acts to have suffered with 

On February 12 is commemorated S. Eulalia, V.M., at 
Barcelona, who is said to have been put to death at the age 
of fourteen. The Acts of both saints of the same name are 
much alike, even to the falling of the snow to cover tiie 
naked body. There can be little doubt that there was only 
one S. Eulalia, the martyr virgin of Merida, and that Barce- 
lona having possessed itself of somq reUcs, true or false, of 
the Meridan saint, in time got to believe that Eulalia was a 
martyr of Barcelona, and distinct from her of Merida. The 
relics of S. Eulalia are at Oviedo. 



(about A.D. 308.) 

[Modem Roman Martyrology. Greek Menaeas and Menologies. 
Authority: — The Acts in Metaphrastes, which are wholly apocryphal.] 

Menas was a senator of Alexandria, and philosopher, 
who secretly professed Christ. The emperor Maximinus 
heard that he was labouring in private to convert the heathen, 
and he sent Hermogenes, an officer in whom he felt confi- 
dence, to Alexandria to cut Menas oflf. On his voyage 
Hermogenes saw in a dream three luminous personages, who 
assured him he would gain great advantage by his journey. 

On* reaching Alexandria, Menas was summoned into the 
theatre, and asked what he believed. Menas replied in a 

126 L ives of the Saints. pec. lo. 

long oration which lasted four hours, and the judge and all 
the people hung breathless on his lips, and quite regretted 
when he ceased speaking — the most remarkable sermon on 
record. The substance of it, as given by Metaphrastes, would 
make a modem audience yawn in ten minutes. 

Hermogenes ordered the soles of his feet to be scraped 
away, his tongue to be torn out, and his eyes to be scooped 
out. In this condition he was taken back to prison, where 
he perfectly recovered in a night. This miracle led to the 
conversion of Hermogenes and a number of soldiers. The 
emperor Maximinus then came to Alexandria, and tortured 
Hermogenes and Menas as cruelly as he was able, but found 
it impossible to do them permanent injury, as they were 
miraculously healed as fast as he could mangle them. Eu- 
graphius, the servant of Menas, joined himself to his master, 
and finally all three were executed with the sword. 

The Acts are inconceivably silly, and are utterly worthless. 
They are wholly unhistorical, and it is questionable whether 
they are founded on any basis of fact. 

(A.D. 314.) 

[Roman Martjnrplogy. Authorities : — Eusebius, H. E. ; S. Optatus, 
the Epistles of S. Augustine, &c.] 

Pope S. Melchiades succeeded Eusebius in the chair of 
S. Peter in 310. Maxentius had promised to restore their 
churches to the Christians; but though he had written a 
letter to this effect, and his commander of the prsetorian 
guards had done the same, nothing was done. Melchiades 
sent these letters by some of his deacons to the prefect of the 
city, and clain^ed a fulfilment of the promise ; but we are not 

Dec. lo.] ^- Melchiades . 127 

informed whether his application succeeded. Melchiades 
was accused afterwards of having employed for this purpose 
a deacon who had delivered up some Church property during 
the late persecution, but he denied the charge. 

In 313 Constantine wrote to Ursus, chief minister of 
finance for Africa, to pay a certain sum to the clergy of the 
Catholic Churth in Africa, through Caecilian, the bishop of 
Carthage ; and the pro-consul was directed to announce to 
him that all persons engaged in the sacred ministry were to 
be excused from the burden of taking any public office. The 
Donatists sought to obtain the same immunity for themselves, 
and they brought a number of charges against Caecilian, and 
claimed that they were the true Catholic Church of Africa. 
Constantine ordered Caecilian, with ten bishops of his party 
and ten Donatist bishops to go to Rome ; and he wrote to 
Melchiades on the subject. At the same time he wrote 
to tliree Gallic bishops, Rheticius of Autun, Matemus of 
Cologne, and Marinus of Aries, as well as to some Italian 
bishops, desiring them to go to Rome and give the rival 
bishops of Carthage an impartial hearing. 

Fifteen Italian bishops joined the three from Gaul and 
the bishop of Rome in forming this council, which was held 
in the month of October. The council decided that the 
election of Caecilian was regular, and that none of the 
charges had been proved against him ; it was added, how- 
ever, that the bishops who had -condemned him, and who 
were now come to accuse him, were not to be excluded 
from communion. Donatus, alone, as the chief promoter of 
the schism, was excepted from this charitable decision. 
Melchiades died on Jan. 10, 314, and was buried in the 
cemetery of Calixtus. 

128 Lives of the Saints. ^Dec. xo. 


(7TH CENT.) 

[Anciently commemorated in Wales. Alban Butler on Nov. 23.] 

Deiniol Wyn, the son of Dunawd Fyr by Dwywe, a 
daughter of Gwallog ab Llenog, assisted his father in the 
establishment of the .monastery of Bangor Iscoed, in Flint- 
shire. . He is said also to have founded another monastery, 
called Bangor Deiniol, in Carnarvonshire. Soon after this 
latter was raised by Maelgwn Gwynedd to the rank of a 
bishop's see, and Deiniol became its first bishop. It is said 
that he received consecration from S. Dubricius, an event 
which must have occurred, if • true, before 522. But it is 
much more probable that he was consecrated by S. David. 
His father, called Denooth by Bede, was abbot of Bangor 
Iscoed at the time of the council of the Oak with Augustine 
(a.d. 600-3). '^^^ poems of Llywarch H^n, a contem- 
porary, prove that Dunawd was engaged in battle with the 
sons of Urien Rheged, who was living in 560. Dunawd 
was therefore not abbot till the end of the sixth century, 
and his son Deiniol was not bishop till the beginning of the 
seventh century. He is said to have been present at the 
synod of Llanddewi-Brefi, which is thought to have taken 
place before 569 ; but this synod rests on the authority of 
Rhyddmarch, and is very doubtful. Deiniol certainly was 
not bishop at that time. Geoffrey of Monmouth says that 
Deiniol died at the same time as S. David. He died no 
doubt about half a century later than S. David. 

Dec. lo.] ^^^ Holy House of Loreto. 129 



(a.d. 1294.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Clement VII. allowed the festival of the 
Translation of the Holy House to be celebrated at Loreto. Urban VIII. 
extended the festival to all the Churches of the Marches in 1632, Inno- 
cent XII. approved a special office for the festival in 1669, and in 1724 
Benedict XIII. extended the celebration to the States of the Church. 
By a decree of Aug. 31, 1669, the Congregation of Sacred Rites added, 
with papal confirmation, to the Roman Martyrology the following 
notice on Dec. 10: ** At Loreto in the Marches the Translation of the 
House of S. Mary, Mother of God, in which the Word was incarnate."] 

Adamnan, who wrote an account of the sacred places in 
the seventh century, says that a church occupied, at Nazar^ 
reth, the site " where formerly had stood the house ^ in which 
our Saviour was brought up. This church stands on two 
mounds, is supported by two arches. . . . Another church 
is erected over the spot where the house had been built in 
which the angel Gabriel visited the blessed Mary. This 
information I had from the holy Arculphus, who remained 
at Nazareth two -days and nights."* John Phocas, who 
visited the Holy Land in the year 1185, gives a minute 
description of Nazareth. He says that near the first gate of 
the village town is the church of the archangel Gabriel, and 
on the left side of the altar is a small cave in which is a 
spring : it was there that the Blessed Virgin Mary was wont 
to draw water. " The house of Joseph was afterwards" trans- 
formed into a most beautiful church ;* on whose left side, 
near the altar, there is a cave, its mouth adorned with white 
marble slabs. Proceeding from the mouth into the cave, 

* " Ubi quondam fuerat domus." 

* ** Dc Locis Sacris," ii. a6. 

* This church was built by Tancred, circ. a.d. xxoo, as William of Tyre tells »«. 


1 30 Lives of the Saints. p>^. ,0. 

you go down some steps and get a view of what was anciently 
the house of Joseph, and where the archangel saluted the 
Virgin on. her return from the fountain. On the spot where 
the salutation took place is a black stone cross on white 
marble, and above it an altar, and on the right side of the 
altar is a small cot ^ in which the ever-Virgin Mother had 
her chamber. But on the left side of (the place of the) Salu- 
tation is another small cot without opening for light,^ in 
which our Lord Christ is said to have dwelt after his return 
from Egypt till the beheading of the Baptist." * 

In 1253 S. Louis visited Nazareth, when he heard Mass 
in this church. In 1261 the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, 
James Pantaleon, was suddenly elevated to the pontificate, 
under the title of Urban IV. Rewrote to S. Louis in 1263 : 
** The Sultan of Babylon has laid sacrilegious and destruc- 
tive hands on the venerable church at Nazareth where the 
Virgin was saluted by the angel, and conceived by the Holy 
Spirit ; and has destroyed it entirely, levelling it to the ground ^^ 

William of Baldinsel (Otto von Rienhuss) returned from 
a pilgrimage to the holy places in 1335 ; and wrote an 
account of them at the request of Cardinal Talleyrand; he 
describes the condition of ruin in which the church of the 
Conception and Annunciation had been left. 

" In this spot {ix. the place of the Conception) was a 
beautiful and large church, but alas ! it has been destroyed ! 
a small place in it has, however, been covered over, and is 
diligently guarded by the Saracens, where, near a certain 
marble column, they assert that the venerable mysteries of 
the Conception were consummated ; .... in this place the in- 
fancy of Christ was passed. He was there educated by His 
parents, increased in age and favour, and was made subject 

* MwfW o«;«0f. « Oij(/rxo( di^MTOf. 

' Compend. Descript. c. lo in Leo Allat. JcMfuxTo. 
^ Ap. Dii Chesne, Hist. Franc, t. v. p. 868. 

Dec lo.] '^^^ li^b House of Loreto. 1 3 1 

to His parents. A fountain is also shown, where the Child 
Jesus was wont to bathe, and whence the Mother and Child 
fetched the water for their human needs." ^ 

With this agrees the account of Torsellus Sanutus, who 
made five pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and. wrote his 
account of the sacred sites in 1306. He says, " At Nazareth 
is shown the place where the angel Gabriel announced the 
redemption of the world. In the chapel there were three 
altars, and the chapel was hewn in stone out of the rock, like 
the place of the Nativity and of the Resurrection. Indeed, 
great part of the town was of old hewn out of the rock, as is 
still evident." " These places," he goes on to say, when 
speaking of Cana of Galilee, " as others where Christ wrought 
anything, are underground ; and persons descend to them by 
many steps into a vault, as is the case with both the site of 
the Nativity and the Annunciation."^ 

And so Sir John Maundeville, whose travels began in 
1327 : — " This salutacion was don in a place of gret awteer 
of a fair chirche that was wont to be soratyme ; but it is 
now alle downe : and men hav made a litylle resceyt, be- 
syde a pylere of that chirche, for to receyve the offrynges of 

Bernhardt von Bredenberg, dean of Mainz, visited Naza- 
reth about a century later, and gives exactly the same ac- 
count of the site of the Annunciation, the church all in 
ruins and only one marble pillar standing, and the rock- 
hewn chapel with its altar. So also Pierre Belon, who 
visited Palestine in the middle of the sixteenth century. 
He says also that the place of the Annunciation was a cave 
to which the pilgrims descended by steps. 

This then remains evident : — 

I. That originally a large church stood over the entrance 

* Ap. Canis. Thesaur. £ccl. Mon., ed. Basnage, iv. p. 354. 

' Ap. Gcata I>«i per Francos, p. 353. * C. x. p. 112, ed. HallivsreU. 

132 Lives of the Saints. ^^^^ ^^ 

to a cave which was reported to have been the house of 
Joseph, and the scene of the Annunciation, and the place 
where Christ spent His boyhood. 

2. That this church was ruined by the Saracens in 1261, 
and that only one marble pillar remained, but that access 
could still be obtained to the cave. 

3. That after 1291, when, according to legend, the Holy 
House was removed from Nazareth, the situation was ex- 
actly the same as before : a ruined church with one pillar 
standing, and a cave containing an altar of the Annuncia- 

Now let us turn to the Roman legend of the Translation. 

Flavins Blondus, secretary to Pope Eugenius IV. and 
the following popes up to Pius II., who died in 1463, is the 
first writer who mentions the Sanctuary of Our Lady at 
Loreto in Picino, in his Italia lUustrata.^ He describes it 
as richly adorned, but says nothing about the legend of its 
transportation from Nazareth. 

The first writer to give this legend is Baptista Mantuanus, 
in his history of the church of Loreto, written between, the 
years 1450 and 1480,^ and his sole authority for the story 
was a "musty worm-eaten tablet," without date, among 
numerous other votive paintings and oflferings, transcribed by 
• Baptista in 1479. Baptista was General of the Carmelites, 
and the custody of the Sanctuary of Loreto had just been 
confided by Sixtus IV. to the Carmelite Order, so that it was 
to the interest of that Order that this shrine should pretend 
to possess some special attraction. And the next to men- 
tion the marvellous translation is Jerome Angelita,^ who 
wrote in the sixteenth century, who also refers as the autho- 

* Opp. ed. Basil, 1559, p. 339. 

' Redemptoris mundi matris, Ecdes. Lauret Hist, in Opp. Bapt. Mantuani, Ant- 
werp. 1576, t. iv. p. 2t6, seq. 

* He was father of John Francis Angelita, historian of Recanati ; his history was 
published in x6ox. 

Dec. lo.] Tf^ Holy House of Loreto. 1 33 

rity to a picture on the wall of the chapel of Loreto, " painted 
at the public expense of the people of Recanati." 

The story soon elaborated itself in the popular mouth, 
and was adopted. The complete myth may be found in 
Rohrbacher, who relates it as follows. 

In 1 29 1, on May loth, angels carried off from Nazareth 
the Holy House where Mary received the visit of S. Gabriel, 
where she conceived, and where she dwelt with Joseph, and 
Christ spent His childhood, and deposited it between Fiume 
and Tersatz, on the top of a hill, not very far from Trieste. A 
bishop or priest named Alexander, of a church, dedicated to 
S. George, where not known, announced to the astonished 
people who visited this newly arrived house that it was the 
real house of Mary. It contained a crucifix ; this he an- 
nounced was made by S. Luke, and was an exact represen- 
tation of Christ.^ 

Nicolas Frangipani, governor of Dalmatia, Croatia, and 
Istria, was then absent following Rudolf of Hapsburg in 
his wars. But when he received information of the arrival 
of the house, with the consent of the emperor, he hastened 
to Fiume to visit and venerate it. 

Unfortunately for the story, in May, 1291, Rudolf of 
Hapsburg was holding a diet at Frankfort, and he was 
engaged in no war at all at the time, indeed he died that year, 
on July 15, worn out with age. Moreover, no such person 
as Nicolas Frangipani is known to history. There was also 
no one person in the thirteenth century who claimed to be 
governor of Dalmatia and Croatia, except the Doge of 
Venice and the King of Hungary. Moreover, Dalmatia 
and Croatia were then divided under the rule of several 
Venetian counts, whose names are known, and no Frangi- 
pani was among them. Nicolas Frangipani was count of 

* The pilgrimage chapel of Tersatz, or Tersato, contains at present a miraculous 
portrait of the Vir^gin by S. Luke. 

1 34 Lives of the Saints. ^ec lo. 

Segna, near Fiume, in the fifteenth century. So that the 
legend in Rohrbacher and elsewhere is unfortunate in its 
chronology. Also, there is absolutely no notice of the Holy 
House at Tersatz by any Hungarian writer, till quite late. 
The first to speak of the sanctuary there is Palladius Fuscus 
of Padua, a writer of the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
who mentions it in connection with the castle of the Fran- 
gipani not far from it, and he only speaks of it as a famous 
shrine of the Blessed Virgin, famous for miracles, but 
breathes not a syllable about its having been regarded as the 
site of a translation of the Holy House. 

The legend goes on to relate that Alexander, the bishop 
or priest of S. George, was sent, with three companions, to 
the Holy Land to examine Nazareth, and report on the 
marvel. They did so, and were satisfied that the story was 
true. As it happens, the year 1291 was that in which it 
would have been impossible for any Christian to visit 
Nazareth, as it was then that Palestine lapsed back into the 
hands of the Saracens. 

The story proceeds. From Tersatz the house was trans- 
lated by angels to Recanati in the Marches of Ancona, but 
the place was so overrun with' banditti, that the angels took 
it up again and put it down on a hill a mile off. There two 
brothers, possessors of the land, quarrelled over it, so the 
angels again removed it, this time to give it a permanent place 
of rest at Loreto, in 1294. 

It was not, however, till Leo X. issued a bull dated August 
1,1518, that this story received authoritative approval by the 
Holy See. In this bull all four translations are stated as 
facts, and the whole fable is adopted as true history. 

The Holy House of Loreto, which is generally stated to 
have been built of brici, is in reality built of the red sand- 
stone of Ancona, the same stone that the poorer cottages of 
the neighbourhood are built of. At Nazareth the stone is 

Dec. 10.3 The Holy House of Loreto. 1 3 5 

■ I^BI^ ■■■■ III ■ I ■, ■■, . ■ ^^^^^1 ■! . ■ >^i— ^^— ^^— ^ip— ^i— ^^^p^^^^M^^ 

grey. A Russian traveller in the eighteenth century, Basil 
Gregorivich Barsk, in his Travels, gives an account of the 
House of Loreto, and he believed the story; he thought the 
walls were of red brick, not noticing that they were of a brick- 
coloured sandstone ; but when he got to Nazareth, he re- 
canted his belief, for he found that no houses there were of 
brick, but all of the grey limestone of the district. It may be 
added that the Holy House of Loreto has a fireplace and 
chimney, and that chimnieys are unknown to Eastern houses. 
Although the story is indisputably a mere idle invention, 
based on a tablet of unknown, if not questionably honest, 
CHigin, and has not the smallest shred of evidence to sub- 
stantiate it, it cannot be denied that the solemn consecra- 
tion of this myth, and its insertion in the Roman Martyro- 
logy are without their value. As the drunken helot was 
precious to the Spartans as a warning against intoxication, 
so may the conspicuous folly of the Loreto House serve as a 
memorial and caution to all ages, of the abyss of blunder 
into which an uncritical temper may precipitate even the 
Sacred College of Rites.^ 

' It may be as well to point out some wilful or unintentional errors made by the 
Pfere Caillau, in his ** Histoire Critique et religieuse de Notre Dame de Lorette,** 
Paris, X843 ; a vain attempt to bolster up this myth. He gives a list of early writers 
who have spoken of the House at Nazareth as still standing. Of these Eusebius, 
whom he. calls to his aid, does K»t speak of Nazareth. The references to S. Epi- 
phanius and S. Jerome are dishonest : Epiphanius says that Christ was brought up 
in the house of Joseph, not that the house was still standing. S. Jerome says that 
all that survived in Nazareth was its nattu. Two quotations of Caillau are equally 
dishonest. S. Paulinus, in his letters to Severus, does not mention Nazareth, and 
the reference to S.Gregory of Tours is equally worthless when examined to sub- 
stantiate his pleas, for Nazareth is not mentioned. The reference to S. John 
Damascene is also false. Odlls^u makes Nicephorus Callistus a writer of the xath 
cent. ; he flourished in the middle of the Z4th. He certainly does say that S. Helena 
" found the house where the angelic salutation took place,'* and to give this testimony 
more weight, Caillau moves back his authority two centuries. So, again, to help out a 
hopeless case by trickery, he makes Jerome Angelita give an account of the Transla- 
tion in Z378, when he really lived in the i6th-cent. Any one desiring to see the whok 
question of the Translation of the Holy House of Loreto carefully and critically 
examined, and the demolition of the P^re Caillau, is referred to the " Christian 
Remembrancer " for April, 1854. which ha.s been used for the compilation of the 
above article. 

1 36 Lives of the Saints, -p^. „. 

December zi. 

SS. Tmraso, Pontianus. and PitATBXTATUS, MM, at Rome; 

circ. A.D. 293.' 
SS. VicTORicus, FusciANUS, AND Gbntianus^ MM. at Amiens,: 

circ. A.D. 303. 
S. Bars ABAS, M. in Persia; a.d. 343. 
S. Damasus, Pope at Romee; a.d. 384. 
S. Sabinus, B. o/Piacenza ; a.d. 430. 
S. Daniel thb Stylitb, H, at Comtantinopie ; circ. a.d. 489. 



(about A.D. 303.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Usuardus, Ado, Notker. 
Authorities : — Mention in the Martyrology of Usuardus, and the Acts, 
which, however, are late and not worthy of much trust.] 

JIICTORICUS and Fuscianus, two Christiaiis, 
lodged with Gentianus at Amiens, and instructed 
him in the Faith. They were arrested. Iron 
skewers were driven into their ears, red-hot nails 
were struck into their temples, and then their eyes were 
plucked out. They were run through with arrows, and as 
none of these tortures killed them, they were finally deca- 
pitated. No reliance can be placed on this story. They 
are also said to have taken uj) their heads and walked after 
their execution. Relics in the cathedral at Amiens, others 
at S. Quentin, others at Notre-Dame de Beaugency, in the 
diocese of Orleans. 

' Fabulous personages from the apocryphal Acts of S. Marcellus. 

Dec. IX.] S. Damasus. 137 

(a.d. 384.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, &c. Authorities:— S. Ambrose, 
£p. 36 ; Rufinus, H.E. lib. xi. c. lO ; Theodoret, lib. ii. c. 22, and 
lib. V. cc. 9, 10, II; Cassiodorus, Tripart. lib. v. c. 28, lib. viii. c. 10, 
lib. ix. cc. 2 and 7 ; The Epistles, and Chronicle of S. Jerome, 
Ammianus Marcellinus, lib. xxvii. c 3.] 

Damasus, a Spaniard, son of Antonius, was educated by 
the sophist Eubulus and the philosopher Libanius. He was 
a cultivated man, able to speak and write both Latin and 
Greek. His father, Antonius, had been in succession scribe, 
lector, deacon, and finally priest of the title of S. Laurence, 
at Rome, and Damasus served the same church as his^ 
father, but, unlike him, was unmarried. When Liberius was 
banished by Constantius in 355, he was in deacon's orders, 
and he swore along with the greater part of the Roman 
clergy to receive no other Pope whilst Liberius lived. He 
accompanied the banished Pope to Beraea. He remained 
there with him but for awhile, and then, returning to Rome, 
in spite of his oath, submitted to the Anti-Pope Felix. 

On the death of Liberius, the factions, which had been 
smouldering in secret, broke out into fierce flame. The 
partisans of Felix, the reputed Arian, elected Damasus, 
then a priest, and sixty years old ; those who had held fast 
to Liberius chose Ursinus.^ Then ensued riot and blood- 
shed between the infuriated partisans, in which neither the 
weakness of woman nor the sanctity of the churches was 
regarded. S. Jerome says : " But after a short time Ursinus 
was consecrated by certain bishops, and invaded the Sicinine 
(church),^ with his supporters, whereupon the people of the 

' See the preface to the Libellus precum of Marcellinus and Faustinus, pub- 
lished by Sirmondi (op. i. p. 227). 
* Probably the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. 

1 38 Lives of the Saints. pec. n. 

<! ■ . . _ 

^arty of Damasus rushed thither, and persons of both sexes 
were barbarously slaughtered." Ammianus Marcellinus, an 
impartial heathen, who is careful to show no prejudice in his 
mention of Christianity, says : " Damasus and Ursinus, being 
both immoderately eager to obtain the bishopric, formed 
parties, and carried on the conflict with great asperity, the 
partisans of each carrying their violence to actual battie, in 
which men were wounded and killed. And as Juventius 
(prefect of Rome) was unable to put an end to, or even to 
soften these disorders, he was at last by their violence com- 
pelled to withdraw to the suburbs. Ultimately Damasus 
got the best of the strife by the strenuous efforts pf his par- 
tisans. It is certain that on one day as many as one 
hundred and thirty-seven dead bodies were found in the 
basilica of Sicinus, which is a Christian church. And the 
populace who had been thus roused to a state of ferocity, 
were with great difficulty restored to order. 

" I do not deny, when I consider the ostentation that 
reigns at Rome, that those who desire such rank and power 
may be justified in labouring with all possible exertion and 
vehemence to obtain their objects; since after they have 
succeeded, they will be secure for the future, being enriched 
by offerings from matrons, riding in carriages, dressing 
splendidly, and feasting luxuriously, so that their entertain- 
ments surpass even royal banquets. And they might be 
really happy if, despising the vastness of the city, which they 
excite against themselves by their vices, they were to live in 
imitation of some of the priests in the provinces, whom the 
most rigid abstinence in eating and drinking, and plainness 
of apparel, and eyes always cast down on the ground, recom- 
mend to the everlasting Deity abd His true worshippers as 
pure and sober-minded men."^ 

*■ " Facite me Ropuuue urbis episct^pum; et ero protimu Christianus,*' said Pnotex- 
tatus, prscfect of Rome. 

Dec. iz.] 

S. Damasus. 1 39 

The Preface to the Memorial addressed to Theodosius by 
Marcellinus and Faustinus, two Luciferian priests who had 
joined the party of Ursinus, enter into further details. The 
Preface says that Damasus got together labourers, chario- 
teersy and gladiators to support his cause with their arms. 
Damasus was proclaimed by the followers of F6lix in the 
church of S. Maria Lucina ; Ursinus was elected by the 
priests, deacons, and faithful, who had adhered to Liberius 
in his exile, and was consecrated in the basilica of Sicinus, 
by Paul, bishop of Tibur. Damasus, with a mob of chario- 
teers and a wild rabble, broke into the Julian basilica, and 
committed great slaughter. Seven days after this horrible 
scene in the church, Damasus succeeded by bribes and 
promises in winning over some of the priests from the party 
of his rival, and by their means seized on the I^teran 
Church, and was consecrated bishop. 

Ursinus was now expelled from Rome by Juventius, pre- 
fect of the city, and Julian prefect of the Annona, along 
with his deacons, Anantius and Lupus, and seven priests 
who had made themselves conspicuous by their violence 
Vere also arrested. But the party of Ursinus flew to the 
rescue, delivered them from the hands of the officers, and 
conducted them to the basilica of Sicinus, in which Ursinus 
had received ordination. Thereupon Damasus gathered 
his rioters together armed with clubs, axes, and swords, and 
attacked the church at eight o'clock in the morning of 
October 28, 366. A furious fight ensued. Damasus suc- 
ceeded in bursting in the doors of the church. The roof 
was torn off, and fire was thrown down on the partisans of 
his rival, and Damasus and his followers massacred a hun- 
dred and sixty-seven of their opponents. Not one of his 
own party fell. The party of Ursinians were obliged to with- 
draw, vainly petitioning for a synod of bishops to examine 
into the validity of the two elections. Ursinus returned 

1 40 Lives of the Saints. ^^^^ „. 

from exile more than once, but Damasus had the ladies 
of Rome in his favour ; ^ and the council of Valentinian 
was not inaccessible to bribes. Considering the means by 
which Damasus obtained the chair of S. Peter, it is not pos- 
sible to read without a smile the judgment of S. Ambrose, 
" The holy Damasus was chosen by the judgment of God." * 
Ursinus returned to Rome, with his two deacons, in Sep- 
tember, 367, but he was driven out again a couple of 
months later. His followers retained one church in Rome, 
and continued to assemble in the catacombs. Damasus 
appealed to the emperor Valentinian to allow him to dis- 
possess them. Permission was given, and the unfortunate 
Ursinians were driven out by an armed band. Damasus 
was triumphant 

But the Ursinians, now turned out of their church, began 
to assemble outside the city walls in considerable numbers. 
Damasus would not concede them even this liberty, so im- 
placable was his hostility towards those who had dared to 
oppose his election. He obtained a rescript from Valenti- 
nian, forbidding the schismatics from assembling within 
twenty miles of Rome. 

Damasus was not satisfied with persecuting the party of 
Ursinus, he attacked also the Luciferians. His clergy 
broke into the church of that party, seized on Macarius the 
priest, and dragged him over flint stones till he was mortally 
injured. He further attacked Eusebius, the Luciferian bishpp, 
but was unable to effect his expulsion. 

In 375 Damasus condemned Apollinaris in a council he 
held at Rome. 

Valens perished in the battle of Hadrianople, August 9, 
378, and Gratian became sovereign of the whole empire. 
A synod was held at Rome, attended by a number of Italian 

* He was nicknamed " Matronarum auriscalpius " (Ear-scratcher of the Ladies). 
' Ep. 17. 

Dec. zx.] 

6*. Damasus. 141 

bishops, partly to reaffirm the condemnation of Ursinus and 
partly to hear the justification of Damasus in a matter in 
which he had been accused by a Jew. The accusation was 
a disgraceful one — ^it was of adultery.* He was pronounced 
guiltless, and the Jew was exiled to Spain. 

In 380 Priscillian, Instantius, Salvianus, and other Spanish 
bishops had incurred condemnation for their views, and 
they with all who thought with them were condemned by a 
rescript of Gratian to leave their churches and country, and 
were denied refuge in any portion of the empire. The 
rescript had been wrung from Gratian by the pertinacity of 
the cruel and irreligious prelate Ithacius. The three Pris- 
cillianists above named went to Rome to entreat the Pope 
to hear their justification, and obtain a mitigation of the 
sentence passed on them. But Damasus, with scornful 
injustice, refused even to allow them to enter his presence. 
Salvianus died in Rome. Instantius and Priscillian went to 
Milan, and met with a rebuff from S. Ambrose. S. Jerome, 
in the meantime, had associated himself with S. Damasus/ 
assisted him with his advice, and composed for him many of 
his letters. 

On the wealth, vices, and pride of the Roman pontiffs we 
have the testimony of Ammianus Marcellinus. The clergy 
of Rome were scarcely better than their chief pastors, 
according to the picture drawn of them by S. Jerome. He 
sketches the clerical coxcomb of his day in Rome, how his 
whole care was about his dress, that it was well perfumed ; 
that his feet were well shod, his hair crisped with curling- 
pins ; his fingers glittering with rings ; how he walked on 
tiptoe lest he should splash himself with the wet soil.^ 

Damasus died in 384. He left several poetical epitaphs, 

' Bibliothecarius ; Vit. Damasi. 

* "Sunt aliiy met ordinis, qui ideo presbyteratum et diaconatum ambiunt ut 
, lirrpti^* videantur.**— Ad Eustoch. 

142 Lives of .the Saints. ^oec. xi. 

and some letters. He was buried in a church he had built, 
beside his mother and his sister. He rebuilt the church of 
S. Laurence, in which his father and he had served, and 
adorned it with sacred pictures, five silver coronas for lights, 
and patens and chalices of precious metal. 


(about A.D. 489.) 

[Roman Martyrology. The Greek Menaeas and Menolc^es and 
Russian Kalendars on Dec. 1 1, but the Neapolitan marble Kalendar of 
the 9th cent, on Dec. 12. Authority : — A Life written in the 6th cent, 
quoted by S. John Damascene. Theodore the Lector (fl. 527) in his 
Ecclesiastical History. A Life in Metaphrastes.] 

S. Daniel, "that admirable man," as Theodore the 
Lector styles him, was one of the first imitators of the 
extraordinary life of S. Simeon the Stylite. He was bom at 
Maratha, near Samosata. His father's name was Elisha, and 
his mother's Martha. The latter had long been barren, and 
Daniel, was given her after much praying, and a promise that 
he should be dedicated from infancy to God. Accordingly, 
when he was only five years old, the father and mother 
took him to a monastery, nameless, for he had not yet been 
baptized, and they wished him to receive his introduction to 
the Church and to Monachism simultaneously. The abbot 
bade the child go to the altar and bring from it one of the 
books that lay upon it. The boy obeyed, and returned 
with the Prophet Daniel. "That, then," said the abbot, 
" shall be his name." 

As Daniel was too young to become a nionK, he was sent 
back to his parents, and they brought him up till he was 
aged twelve, when he ran away from home, and presented 
himself at the gate of a monastery not far from Maratha. 

Dec. XI.] '^- Daniel the Sty lite. 143 

He cast himself at the feet of the abbot^ and said, '' I am 
come, my fiather, to live to Jesus Christ, and to die to the 
flesh. If my health fails under the process, I will gladly die 
rather than look back." He was taken in, but not allowed 
for some time to wear the monastic habit. His parents 
urged the abbot to expedite the day of his profession, and 
the abbot yielded to their urgency sooner than he would 
have otherwise thought of doing, and cut off the young 
monk's hair, and clothed him with the habit of religion, before 
his parents' eyes. 

The superior was obliged after a time to make a journey 
to Antioch, and he took Daniel with him. They came to 
Talada, or Telanissa, not far from where S. Simeon was 
spending his life on the top of a pillar. Daniel was eager to 
see the saint, and the abbot took him to the spot. Daniel 
was allowed to ascend the pillar, and he was received with 
affection by the Stylite, who blessed him, and spoke to him 
of the love of God. 

Daniel remained in the monastery till the death of his 
abbot, as a humble monk, but when he was elected by his 
brethren to be their superior, he ran away, and betook him- 
self to S. Simeon, and spent fifteen days with him. He then 
set out to visit the holy places, but found that the Samaritans 
were in arms ; and at the advice, of an old man of sanctity, 
he did not risk his life in attempting to traverse their country, 
but went instead to Constantinople. This was apparently in 
452, in the reign of Marcian, when Anatolius was patriarch. 
For the first seven days he remained in the out-buildings of 
the church of S. Michael, on the north of the city j and after- 
wards he took.up his abode in an old temple at Philamporus, 
which was popularly supposed to be the haunt of evil spirits, 
but which was really tenanted by owls, jackals, and other 
wild creatures. These disturbed his rest for some nights by 
their noises, but Daniel shut himself up from assault by 

1 44 Lives of the Saints. pec. h. 

wolves in a small apartment, the door of which he blocked 
at night with stones. 

Some of the clergy and laymen of the better classes in the 
neighbourhood complained to Anatolius of the ragged monk 
who was encouraging s.uperstition among the people by his 
eccentricities and asceticism. Anatolius, instead of driving 
him away, visited him, and embraced him, wishing him God- 
speed. Daniel spent nine years in the old heathen temple, 
and was believed to have wrought miracles. At the end of 
that time, the desire came upon him to follow the example 
of S. Simeon, and take up his abode on the top of a pillar. 
His desire was greatly enhanced by the following circum- 

S. Simeon had bidden his disciple Sergius take his habit, 
or scapular, after his death to the emperor Leo. Sergius 
went to Constantinople with this valuable bequest. But Leo 
was either too much engaged with business, or too inappre- 
ciative of its value, to see Sergius, and the disciple of the 
great Stylite wandered about Constantinople with his in- 
estimable and yet unvalued treasure, not knowing what to 
do with it. By chance he came to Philamporus, and made 
the acquaintance of Daniel, and they fell to talking of the 
merits of Simeon. Daniel then confided to Sergius his desire 
of humbly following the example of Simeon by also ascend- 
injg a pillar, of which there were plenty to choose among in 
the old temple. Sergius, delighted to hear this, gave the 
scapular of the saint to Daniel, who received it with enthu- 
siasm, and thought himself blessed as Elisha when the mantle 
of Elijah descended on him. Sergius then resolved to tarry 
at Constantinople, and attend on Daniel as he had on 
Simeon. None of the pillars of the old temple proved satis- 
factory, at least in their present situation, and consequently 
a pillar of a commodious height, and with a sufficiently broad 
capital, was set up by an admirer of Daniel on a hill in the 

Dec. „.] "S*. Daniel the Sty lite. 145 

Anaplian quarter, on the side of the Bosphorus, towards the 
Black Sea. 

Daniel issued from his cell at night, and before break 
of day mounted his pillar, where he soon became an object 
of curiosity and devotion to the sight-seers and pious of 
Byzantium. Crowds came to see him, and brought lunatics 
and sick people to be healed by him. Those who were 
afflicted were hoisted up to the top of the pillar, and then 
Daniel applied his hands to them, and was so successful as to 
cure many. 

The patriarch Gennadius visited Daniel, ascended the 
column, and ordained the Stylite priest, after which Daniel 
celebrated the Divine Mysteries on the top of his pillar. 
The emperor Leo built him a taller, but more commodious 
pillar, composed, in fact, of two columns, with a little sentry- 
box on the top, into which he could retire in storms, and he 
finally roofed over the top of the column, as Daniel was ex- 
posed for a couple of nights to a severe snowstorm. 

At the request of Daniel, Leo sent to Antioch for the 
relics of Simeon Stylites, and they were placed in a chapel 
at the foot of the column. Several houses were built near, 
to serve as the cells of the disciples of Daniel, and thence 
sprung up the afterwards important monastery of S. Daniel. 

The winter of 466 was very stormy, and, in the gales, the 
pillar of Daniel was shaken, and threatened to fall. The em- 
peror Leo rode to see it, and was furious with the builder of the 
column for not having made the structure stronger ; his rage, 
however, does not seem to have extended to the Almighty 
for having sent rain and tempest against it. He determined 
to wreak a terrible vengeance on the builder, whom he could 
reach, and put him to a miserable death. But Daniel inter- 
fered, and with difficulty obtained the life of the unfortunate 
man. On his way back to Constantinople, as Leo was de- 
scending the hill on which the column stood, his horse 


1 46 Lives of the Saints. [d«.. «. 

tripped and fell, the emperor was flung on the road, and his 
crown was dashed with such force on the ground that the 
pearls started from their sockets. Leo escaped with only a 
scratch on his forehead, and attributed his deliverance from 
broken bones to the merits of S. Daniel. The groom of the 
stables, trembling for his life, and feeling pretty sure that the 
emi>eror would maim or kill him, because of the accident, 
fled to the pillar of Daniel as to a sanctuary. The groom 
was an Arian, but in the agony of his fear for his life, he 
assured the hermit on the pillar that he was quite prepared 
to believe and confess whatever was orthodox, if he would 
intercede for him. Daniel consented to these terms, and 
wrote to Led to announce the conversion of the groom, and 
his desire that he might be pardoned for the accident which 
had befallen the emperor. Leo replied, "The danger in 
which I was placed was due to none but myself, and was my 
punishment for having dared get into my saddle in your 
august presence, instead of humbly walking till out of sight 
of your pillar. Far from being angry with Jordanus, the 
groom, I rejoice that the fall of my horse has raised him from 
his errors." 

1^0 took all the distinguished personages who visited him 
to see Daniel, as one of the sights of Constantinople. Go- 
bazes, king of Lazica, in Colchis, having come to the capital, 
was taken by Leo to see the saint. Gobazes prostrated him- 
self before the pillar, which he adored along with the old man 
on the top of it, and cried out, " I thank thee. King of 
Heaven, that in having come to see an earthly monarch, I 
should have been allowed to behold the celestial life of this 

Leo had been but a humble tribune in the army, an 
lUyrian by birth, but he had been raised to the throne by the 
influence of Aspar, the general of the forces in the East. 
When the emperor Marcian died, without issue, Aspar 

Dec. XX.] -S*. Daniel the Sty lite. 147 

coveted the throne for himself; but as he was an Alan by 
birth, and an Arian- by profession, he did not venture to 
assume it, but nominated to it Leo, whom he hoped to rule, 
and who, he vainly expected, would be grateful to his patron 
after his elevation above him. 

Leo was orthodox and pious, or superstitious. His wife, 
the empress Verina, veiled under a form of piety a character 
the infamy of which afterwards transpired. It was their 
uniteid desire to have a son, to whom to bequeath the throne. 
For this they applied to Daniel, and he promised his most 
fervent prayers. A son was given them in 462, but the 
prayers of Daniel did not succeed in retaining him to his 
parents, for he died shortly after his birth. ' 

The empress Eudoxia, daughter of Theodosius II., and 
widow of Valentinian III., came to Constantinople in 462, 
and showed the saint no less veneration than did Leo. She 
begged him to come with her to one of her estates, and set 
up his pillar, and perch himself on the top of it, in the neigh- 
bourhood of her mansion, when she could consult him at 
leisure. But he declined the offer. 

The brother of Verina was Basiliscus, a man avaricious, 
cruel, and crafty, who withheld his hand from no crime which 
was likely to advance himself. To him was confided the 
command of the imperial troops. 

War broke out between the emperor and Genseric, king 
of the Vandals. Genseric plundered Italy, and cast longing 
eyes on Alexandria and Constantinople. Leo sent a fleet 
against the Vandals, and in this expedition the incompetence 
or untrustworthiness of Basiliscus appeared. His troops 
had already plundered the north coast of Africa, and were 
threatening Carthage, when Aspar, jealous of his success, 
advised Basiliscus to rest content with these results, and 
Basiliscus, bribed, it is said, by Genseric, betrayed his 
own fleet into the hands of the Vandals. The trusty Ad- 

148 L ives of the Saints. pec. «. 

miraly John Dominicus, after a heroic defence, plunged into 
the sea to drown his grief and shame. Basiliscus returned 
to Constantinople, but instead of being punished, was par- 
doned at the petition of his sister, and one of the generals, 
Marcellinus, who murmured at the betrayal of the fleet, was 
put to death. Basiliscus was, however, obliged to retire from 
Constantinople, and Aspar was left supreme under the 
emperor whom he had made. 

When the expedition had started, Leo went to the pillar 
of S. Daniel, to implore the prayers of the Stylite, in which 
he trusted, and not without reason, rather than in the 
talents and probity of Basiliscus. Daniel promised him that 
Alexandria should "not be taken and burnt by the Vandals, 
and his words were fulfilled. 

The feeble emperor, in order to obtain some support for 
his throne from outside, endeavoured to make an alliance 
with the Isaurians, a bold nomad horde of robbers, who had 
risen to great power. For this purpose he invited one of 
their chiefs to Constantinople, had him baptized, and given 
the name of Zeno, married him to his daughter Ariadne, 
and made him general of the troops in the East. Zeno's 
growing influence and fortune awoke the rivalry of Aspar, 
who sought his life. Zeno, warned in time, fled to Antioch, 
and Leo, to pacify Aspar, named Patricius, one of his sons, 
Cjesar, and designated him his successor. He gave his 
daughter Leontia to Patricius, and hoped that he had 
secured thereby peace for himself. 

But Leo had not taken into consideration the religious 
prejudices of the citizens of Byzantium. They saw with 
suspicion the elevation of an Arian, rose in tumult against 
Aspar, and he and his son fled to Chalcedon. Leo went 
obsequiously after him, trembling lest Aspar should take the 
head of the army and chastise the insolent citizens. He 
promised him his protection, and the security of his offices; 

Dec. XI.] Sn Daniel the Sty lite. 149 

then secretly surrounded him with some assassins, who, by 
Leo's orders, murdered him and his eldest son in the palace 
of Chalcedon. The two other sons succeeded in escaping, 
though severely wounded (a.d. 471). This act of treachery 
and cruelty created a tumult in Constantinople ; the party of 
Aspar and the Arians threatened the emperor, who was 
thrown into great alarm, and hastily recalled Zeno and 
Basiliscus. Another tumult broke out, when Leo named his 
son-in-law, the Isaurian Zeno, as Caesar and his successor, 
Ariadne, ambitious and crafty, persuaded her father to 
invest her son Leo, aged four, with the title of Augustus. 
Zeno, like his father-in-law, held Daniel in high repute, and 
Consulted him before undertaking anything of importance. 
He was sent into Thrace against the barbarians who ravaged 
that province. Before leaving, he sought S. Daniel, and 
the saint promised him, what was almost as much as could 
be promised to a general of the empire tottering to its fall, 
that his arms would meet with no disgraceful disaster. In 
January, 474, Leo lost his life in a riot. With the exception 
of a few laws, no traces remain of his seventeen years' reign. 
Of feeble body, and purpose, and mind, his only redeeming 
quality was his orthodoxy, which was unimpeachable. He 
was greatly under the influence of S. Daniel, and galloped 
from his palace to the pillar whenever in perplexity, to seek 
from that oracle advice and enlightenment. He died at the 
age of seventy-three, and was sumamed by his flatterers 
" the Great," a title not ratified to him by posterity. Leo II., 
son of Zeno and Ariadne, was now emperor, surrounded by 
the triumvirate of his mother, grandmother, and father. 
The two ruling women, fearing lest the power should elude 
their grasp during the regency of a feeble child, carried the 
young emperor to the hippodrome, placed him on the impe- 
rial throne, and Zeno bowed before his son with much 
humility to receive from his infant hands the crown, and 

1 50 Lives of the Saints. pec. m 

from his lips the titles of Augustus and fellow-emperor. 
This was the first and only act of imperial authority exer- 
cised by the poor child, who soon after disappeared, ap- 
parently poisoned by his own father, who desired to reign as 
sole emperor. Zeno was vain, crafty, and revengeful. His 
stepmother Verina, his wife Ariadne, were women without 
womanhood ; his son, by a first marriage, Zeno, was hated 
for his intolerable arrogance and excesses, but fortunately 
was not long-lived ; his two brothers, who lived on his alms, 
and assisted him with their worthless counsel, were men 
with ,as little character and genius as the emperor. Thus 
the court of Byzantium became a nursery of intrigue and 
crimes. Verina, who found her son-in-law not wholly sub- 
missive to her will, headed a plot against him, along with 
her paramour, Patricius, to obtain for herself and him the 
crown. But she carried on at the same time another intrigue 
with her brother Basiliscus. When this latter conspiracy 
was on the eve of breaking out, she divulged it to Zeno, 
pretended great alarm, and urged him to flight with his wife 
Ariadne. The cowardly emperor believed her assurances, 
and escaped from Constantinople, and took refuge in 
Isauria, his native land. Basiliscus was crowned by Verina : 
he gave his wife Zenoida the title of Augusta, and his son 
Marcus he created first Caesar, and then fellow-emperor. 

Zeno did not fly till he had consulted the oracle Daniel,^ 
who predicted to him a short exile, and then a return to his 
imperial throne. Daniel told him that like Nebuchadnezzar 
he would for a time be condemned to eat the herb of the 
field, but that after a while God would lift up his head again. 

Basiliscus and Zenoida were addicted to Eutychianism, 
and at their call, Timothy Ailourus, or "The Weasel," 
bishop of Alexandria, who had been banished his see by the 
orthodox Leo, returned. Timothy the Weasel obtained 
from Basiliscus an encyclic letter which branded with ana-t 

Dec 11.3 "S*. Daniel the Sty lite. 1 5 1 

thema the whole proceedings of the council of Chalcedon, 
and the Tome of S. Leo, as tainted with Nestorianism. 
Everywhere the Eutychian bishops seized the sees, and 
expelled the orthodox prelates. Peter the Fuller was rein- 
stalled at Antioch by Timothy himself, and Paul was given 
the see of Ephesus, from which he had been cast out by 
Leo. Acacius, bishop of Constantinople, was a man of 
great ability. He beheld the unwelcome presence and in^ 
creasing influence of the rival patriarch of Alexandria with 
jealous suspicion, and refused to admit him to the com- 
munion of the Church. Fierce struggles for power distracted 
Constantinople ; questions on abstruse points of theology 
were argued out with cudgels and daggers, and reciprocal 
curses. On one side were the Eutychian monks; on the 
other, Bishop Acacius and a large part of the populace 
and of the monks of Constantinople, for fierce bands of 
fanatic monks now appeared on each side. But the most 
powerful supporter of Acacius was S. Daniel. Each faction 
sought his aid or countenance. Acacius appealed to Daniel 
to defend with his tongue the truth of Chalcedon. Basiliscus 
complained to him of the violence of the patriarch, who was 
fomenting rebellion among his own soldiers. But Daniel 
sternly bade the emissary of Basiliscus withdraw. The 
tyrant had risen against God's truth proclaimed at Chalce- 
don, and God would revenge the defiance by hurling the 
upstart from his throne. The messenger, aghast, refused to 
bear such an answer by word of mouth. Daniel wrote it, 
sealed it, and bade the messenger convey it thus to the 

But Acacius was not satisfied with such partisanship* 
He sent twice to implore Daniel to descend from that pillar 
up which more sober Christians would have been glad to 
escape to be away from the strife of party war. He con- 
sented, and went down ; but he had lost the power of walk- 

152 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ „. 

ing, and had to be carried. His entry into Constantinople 
was one of triumph. Basiliscus trembled in his palace, and 
sent word that he would not meet him. He left the city in 
terror, and took refuge in his country palace at Hebdemon. 
Daniel, borne aloft in his chair, pursued the flying monarch 
to his place of refuge, and his attendant monks clamoured 
at the door for admission. Basiliscus barricaded himself 
against invasion. A Goth of his guard looking from the 
window, saw the hermit borne above the heads of the 
<n-owd, and said ** Ha ! a new consul." As he fell dead on 
the spot, probably struck by a stone from the rioters without, 
Basiliscus grew more frightened. Some of the officers of 
the emperor deserted him and swelled the crowd. One of 
the towers of the Hebdemon palace fell with a crash, 
Daniel bade his attendants take off their shoes and shake 
the dust from their feet against the anti-Christ, the second 
Diocletian. And he beat out the dust from his old habit 
towards the palace, as his defiance. 

The mob returned to Constantinople without further 
violence, and Daniel was carried to the great church, where 
Acacius received him with demonstrations of lively joy. In 
the church a snake coiled itself round the feet of the hermit 
saint, but did him no harm. 

Basiliscus, fearing for his throne, sent secretly to Daniel 
to implore him to visit him privately. The Stylite refused. 
Then the cowed emperor came himself to the hermit^ 
grovelled at his feet, and implored his forgiveness and pro- 
tection. Daniel poured forth upon him a torrent of denun- 
ciation, and predicted his speedy fall — b. prediction certain 
of accomplishment A coward, such as Basiliscus had proved 
himself to be, could not maintain himself long on the throne. 
Basiliscus, in abject terror at the strength and violence of 
orthodox zeal which he had provoked, issued a second en- 
cyclical letter, in favour of Chalcedon, and reversing what he 

Dec. XI.] "S*. Daniel the Sty lite. 153 

had declared in his first letter. But his guards were disgusted 
at his want of spirit. There was not much choice between 
emperors — the stock seemed throughout rotten, and devoid of 
regenerative vigour ; but Zeno, with all his faults, was not so 
dastardly as this Basiliscus. Moreover, Basiliscus had dis- 
covered, or suspected, the intrigues of his sister, and had 
executed her lover, Patricius, whom she had destined to de- 
throne him. 

A fire broke out in Constantinople, and destroyed with 
the finest quarter of the city the magnificent library contain- 
ing 120,000 manuscripts. Discontent was general. Zeno 
placed him self at the head of some provincial troops, and the 
Isaurian robbers. Basiliscus sent Illus against him, but the 
army and its commander went over to the enemy, and Con- 
stantinople yielded without a struggle to the combined army. 
Basiliscus fled for sanctuary to the church of S. Irene ; but 
the refuge of Holy Peace was not for a heretic, said the 
patriarch, and cast him out, on the promise of Zeno that he 
would not shed the blood of the usurper. The wretched 
Basiliscus was taken, with his wife and children, to the castle 
of Limacus, near Cucusus, and shut up with them in a dun- 
geon without food. They died of starvation, and were found, 
when the jailer opened the prison, locked in each other's 
arms (a.d. 477). The brief usurpation of Basiliscus had 
lasted but two years. Zeno was greeted by the orthodox as 
their deliverer and saviour. He reversed the decrees of 
Basiliscus, drove the Eutychians from their churches, and re- 
stored them to the Catholics.^ 

Zeno did nothing without consulting Daniel. He was 
under his influence as completely as was Leo. His want of 
firmness, his cunning and mistrust, filled his reign with distur-' 

' Timotheus Solofaciolus resumed the patriarchate of Alexandria, and endeavoured 
to reconcile the heretics by Christian gentleness. As he passed along the streets, 
the heretics cried, " Though we do not communicate with you, yet we love you." 
This great charity has cost him a place in thp Martyrology and Menaea. 

154 L ives of the Sainis. [d^c. tt. 

bances ; and the fourteen years it lasted are as discreditable as 
any in the history of the Byzantine empire. Zeno, in his 
effort to pour oil on the troubled waters of religious contro* 
versy, issued his unfortunate Henoticon. It was com- 
posed, if not by Acacius, at all events under his direction, 
and almost certainly, also, with the sanction of S. Daniel, 
whose approval would assuredly have been solicited. The 
aim of this edict was not the reconciliation of conflicting 
parties, but the prevention of strife between them becoming 
more bitter, by requiring both to meet with outward con- 
formity to Christian amity. The immediate effects of the 
Henoticon in the East seemed to encourage the fond hope of 
peace* The feud between the rival Churches of Constanti- 
nople and Alexandria was for a third time appeased. The 
three patriarchal sees of Antioch, Alexandria, and Constanti- 
nople approved the edict ; but it encountered deadly opposi- 
tion from Rome. Pope Felix III. anathematized all the 
bishops who had subscribed the edict, and condemned the 
Henoticon as a seed-plot of impiety. 

But our narrative has nothing more to do with the events 
of ecclesiastical history. Daniel was grown too old to 
descend again from his pillar; his heart, perhaps, too soft 
with the light of dawning eternity for him to detect the 
iniquity that lurked in an attempt to enforce mutual forbear- 
ance on controversial points. He lived several years after 
the restoration of Zeno, and then had a little exhortation 
written down as his last will, to be bequeathed to his 

It ran thus: "My children and brothers, for you are 
both — my children, because I am your spiritual father; and 
my brethren, because God is our common Father — I go my 
way to our common Father. I love you too much to leave 
you orphans, grieving at the loss of a father. I leave the 
care of you to our Heavenly Father, Who created me and* 

Dec II.] *^- Daniel the Sty lite. 155 

you ; to Him Who made all things with wisdom ; Who bowed 
the heavens, and came down ; Who died, and rose again for 
us. He will dwell with you, and will keep you from evil. 
He is Master of all things, as He is Sovereign Wisdom, and 
He will preserve you according to His will. As a Father, 
He will correct you with love, if you stray ; and He will ex- 
tend to you the arms of His mercy to bring you back to 
Him. He will keep peace and union among you, and 
make you as one before His Father, through that love 
which made Him die for us. Embrace humility, practise 
obedience, exercise hospitality, keep the fasts, observe the 
vigils, love poverty, and above all cherish charity, which is 
the first and greatest commandment. Keep yourselves 
firmly attached to all that concerns religion, avoid the tares 
of heresy, separate not yourselves from the Church — our 
mother. If you do all these things, you will be perfect." 

There is a wonderful simplicity and beauty in this last 
touching instruction. 

The saint, on the top of his pillar, when midnight was 
past, in the cold of a December morning, before the first 
streaks of dawn had lighted the south-east, by the glimmer 
of his lamps, celebrated the Eucharist, with the wintry stars 
shining crisply out of the dark sky. Three hours after, he 
was dying. Acacius of Constantinople was dead ; his suc- 
cessor, Euphemius, hastened to receive his last sigh. A pious 
lady named Rhais came with expedition. The saint had 
promised her that she alone should lay out and prepare his 
body for burial. She placed it in a coffin of lead, and laid it 
in a tomb at the foot of the pillar^ He died on December 
nth, about 489, when he was eighty years old. 

156 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. i«. 

December 12. 

SS. Epimachius and AbSXANDtR, MM, at Alexandria ; a.d. 250. 
SS. Ammonarium, V.M.^ M^rcuria, and Qthbrs, MM. at 

Alexandria; a.d. 250. 
S. Synbsius, M. at Rome; cirt. a.d. 274. 
SS. Maxkntius, CoNSTANTiui*, AND Othrrs, MM. at Treves I 

circ. A.D. 304. 
S. CoRENTiN, B. o/Quimperi^ Brittany i circ. a.d, 455. 
S. FiNNiAN, B. ofClonard; cite. a.d. 552. 
S> Bertoara, V. at Bourges ; circ. a.d. 689. 
S. Adelhrid, Empss. at Strassburg; a.d. 999. 


(a^d. 250.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus. By the Greeks, Epimachius on 
May 22 ; the Menology of Basil on Oct. 30 ; and the Translation of 
his relics to Constantinople on March 1 1. Authority : — ^The Letter of 
S. Dionysius of Alexandria, a contemporary, preserved by Eusebius, 
H.E. lib. vi. c. 41. The Acts of S. Epimachius are apocryphal.] 

N the persecution of Decius, Epimachius and 

Alexander suffered at Alexandria. Dionysius, 

a contemporary, says of them that after a long 

imprisonment, and after having suffered terribly 

from scourges and scrapers, they were burned to death. 


(a.d. 250.) 

[Roman Martjn-ology. Usuardus. By some Greek Kalendars on 
this day ** Ammonatha and Antha." Authority : — The Letter of S. 
Dionysius in Eusebius, H.E. lib. iv. c. 41.] 

Four women suffered with Epimachius and Alexander. 
♦* Ammonarium, a holy virgin, was ingeniously tortured for 

D^C. 12.} 

S. Corentin. 157 

a very long time by the judge, because she plainly declared 
that she would not utter any of the expressions (in honour 
of the gods) which he dictated ; and having made good her 
promise, she was led away. The others were, the venerable 
and aged Mercuria ; Dionysia, also, who was the mother of 
many children, but did not love them more than the Lord. 
These, after the governor became ashamed to torture them 
to no purpose, and thus to be defeated by women, all died 
by the sword, without the trial by tortures. But as to Am- 
monarium, she, like a chief combatant, received the greatest 
tortures of all.'* It will be seen that Dionysius, though he 
says there were four women who suffered, names only three. 
The Greeks call the fourth Antha. The Western Martyrolo- 
gies say " a second Ammonarium," through a misunderstand- 
ing of Dionysius, as though by twice mentioning Ammona- 
rium he alluded to two of the same name. But it is clear 
that this is not the case. 


(A.D. 433.) 

[Gallican Mart)rrologies. Nantes Breviary on Dec. 1 1. His name 
occurs in the 7th cent. English Litany published by Mabillon in his 
Annals. Authorities : — The ancient lections for the festival of the saint 
in the breviaries of Quimper, Leon, and Nantes. See Albert le Grand 
and Lobineau.] 

S. CoRENTiN, first bishop of Quimper, in Brittany, was a 
native of Armorica. He had a hermitage in the parish of 
Plou-Vodiem, at the foot of Mont Saint-Come, where there 
was a little spring of water that filled a basin. By a special 
miracle a fish lived in this basin, which served Corentin 
with a meal every day. He put his hand into the water, 
drew out the fish, cut off as much of its flesh as he wanted, 

158 Lives of the Saints. ^^^, „. 

and then threw it back into the spring, where it recovered 
itself before his next meal. And thus the same fish served 
him for several years. ^ 

There was a lame priest, a hermit, named Primael, who 
had a chapel near Chiteauneuf-de-Faon. Corentin went to 
visit him. He slept the night at his hermitage, and next 
morning, Primael went to fetch water from the spring, which 
was at some distance. As the old man was lame, and the 
way long, Corentin pitied him, and driving his staff into the 
ground, brought forth a bubbling fountain at the hermit's 
door. Two eminent saints ^ visited him one day. Corentin 
was in despair. He had flour, and could give them pan- 
cakes for dinner, but pancakes, before it was understood 
how to season them with sugar, nutmeg, and lemon, were 
thought very insipid. He went to his fountain to have a 
look at his fish. It would be killing the goose that laid the 
golden eggs, if he broiled for his visitors the entire fish. 
But, to his great joy, he found the spring full of plump eels. 
He cooked them for dinner in light wine ; and his visitors 
left, licking their lips, and glorifying God for having given 
them so dainty a meal. 

However, one day King Grallo lost his way when hunting, 
and arrived hungry at the cell of the saint. Corentin was 
obliged then to cut a large slice out of the back of his fish. 
The king's cook, without whom Grallo prudently did not 
lose himself, scoffed at the small supply, but as he began to fry 
the slice of fish, it multiplied in the pan sufficiently to satisfy 
the king and all who came up to the hermitage. Grallo 
was naturally curious to see the fish itself, and Corentin 

* " Ubi ejus sanctitateni Deus, cujus cum simplicibus sermocinatio est, insigni 
miraculo declaravit. Ex vicino namque fontis rivulo, quern ipse, circa horam 
prandii, aquam hausturus, frequentabat, piscis exiliens, sic ei se ipsum ultro com- 
modabat, ut, abscissa in cibum particulS, integrum se denuo ad idem munus quotidie 
depraesentaret.** — Lect. Brev. Leon. 

3 A Breton poet says S. Malo and S. Patemus, but the dates will not agree. 

Dec. t2.] 

S. Finnian. 159 

took him to the fountain, where they found the creature fro- 
licking about quite uninjured. An attendant of the king 
tried his knife on the fish, and the wound remained un- 
healed till Corentin discovered what had been done, restored 
the fish to soundness, and bade it depart lest it should get 
into mischief again through the concourse of the curious 
who would be sure to come to the fountain on hearing of 
the miracle. The prose for the feast of S. Corentin in the 
Quimper Breviary says that it was the bishop of L^on who 
tried his knife on the fish, but the lesson for the festival in 
the L^on Breviary repudiates the charge, and lays the blame 
on an attendant of the king. Grallo, charmed with the 
miracles he had witnessed, presented the forest and the 
hunting-lodge of Plou-Vodiem to the saint. 

He had several disciples, of whom the most celebrated 
was S. Winwaloe, afterwards abbot of Landevenec (March 3). 
King Grallo raised Quimper into a bishopric, and S. Coren- 
tin was sent by him to Tours for consecration.^ The saint 
was at the Council of Angers in 453,. and signed the decrees 
as Chariaton, He died probably not long after. 

A small fragment of bone is the only relic remaining of 
this saint. It is preserved at Quimper in the cathedral. 

In art, S. Corentin is represented with a fountain or a 
bucket at his side,- in which is a fish. 


(A.D. 552.) 

[Irish Martyrologies. Also on Feb. 23. Authorities: — A Life in 
Colgan on Feb. 23.] 

The early history of this famous saint is so full of 
anachronisms that it can scarcely be unravelled. It is 

^ It is said to S. Martin,. but that saint died in 401. 

i6o ^ Lives of the Saints. [d^c xa. 

generally admitted that he was a native of Leinster, and 
that he was son of Fintan, of the race of Loschain, and that 
his mother's name was Talech. They are represented as 
Christians ; and accordingly it is related that, soon after the 
child was bom, they sent him to Roscar to be baptized by 
Bishop Fortkem. The women who were carrying him were 
met on the way by S. Abban, who undertook to baptize 
him, and performed the ceremony at a place where two 
rivers meet. Finnian was brought up by Bishop Fortkem, 
but when aged thirty, he went to S. Cayman of Darinis, and 
then, crossing the sea, visited Killmuinne or Menevia, in 
Wales, and had interviews with S. David, S. Gildas, S. Cadoc, 
and others. He is said to have remained in Wales founding 
churches during thirty years. There is a church called Llan- 
ffinan in Anglesea, which may perhaps have been founded by 
him. He must have been in Wales about 520, and certainly 
did not spend so many as thirty years there. He retumed to 
Ireland, and was given land by Muircdeach, prince of 
Hykinsellagh. He founded churches, and then a school at 
Magna, perhaps Hy-barche in Carlow, where he taught 
during seven years. He removed to Clonard about 530, 
where he opened a school. His reputation for learning was 
so great, that crowds of students flocked to his school and 
monastery, among whom are mentioned the two Kierans, S. 
Columba of lona, and S. Columba of Tirdaglas. He is 
spoken of as being bishop as well as abbot of Clonard, yet 
he is never called so either in his Acts or in the Irish 
Kalendars. His usual food was bread and herbs, and his 
drink water. On festival days he ate fish and drank beer. 
He slept on the bare ground, and had a stone for his pillow. 
He was attended in his last illness by S. Columba, son of 
Crimthan, of Tirdaglas, and died at Clonard in the year 


Dec. Z3.] 

S. Bertoara. i6i 


(about A.D. 689.) 
[Gallican Mart)rrologies. Authority : — The Boui^es Breviary,] 

S. Bertoara was bom of noble parents at Bourges. She 
was wont to pass her days and nights in prayer. One night 
she found a poor man, called Meroald, covered with rags, 
lying in the gutter. He implored her to have him <:arried 
to the shrine of the bishop, S. Austregisl (a.d.. 624). Ber- 
toara called her servants, and bade them convey the man to 
the altar, and lay him down there. He was immediately 

Bertoara founded a monastery for women at Bourges, 
under the rule oif S. Columbanus. She entered it herself, 
and died in the community. 

(a.d. 999.) 

[Gallican and German Martyxologies. Venerated in the diocese of 
Strassburg. Authority :-— The Life or "Epitaphium " by Odilo, abbot 
of Clugny, d. 1049, in Pertz, Mon. Script. Germ. iv. p. 635. Also 
Wittekind, Ditmar of Merseburg, Frodoard, and other chroniclers of 
the period.] 

Hugh of Provence, king of Italy, held his court at Pavia. 
He reigned at a time when the Papacy had sunk to its 
lowest abasement. The infamous Marozia was supreme in 
Rome. She had married Guido of Tuscany. She seized 
Pope John X., the former paramour of her mother, and cast 
him into prison, where he died, smothered by her orders. On 
the death of Stephen VII. this shameless woman placed on the 


1 6 2 L ives of the Saints. ^^^ „. 

Papal throne her son, John XI., the offspring of her amours 
with Pope Sergius, according to one contemporary account ; 
her lawful son according to another. But the lofty Marozia, 
not content with having been the wife of a marquis, the 
wife of a duke of Tuscany; perhaps the mistress of one, 
certainly the mother of another Pope, looked still higher in 
her lustful ambition : she must wed a monarch. She sent 
to offer herself and the city of Rome to the new king of 
Italy. Hugh of Provence was not scrupulous in his amours, 
lawful or unlawful. Through policy or through passion, he 
was always ready to form or to break these tender connec- 
tions. Yet there was an impediment, a canonical impedi- 
ment, to this marriage, which even Hugh and Marozia dared 
not despise. Guido, the late husband of Marozia, and Hugh 
of Provence were sons of the same mother. Even the 
Levitical law, which seems to have occurred to some, would 
not help them, for Marozia had borne children to Guido. 
Hugh struck out a happy expedient, at the same time to get 
over this difficulty, to obtain Rome, and to assume to himself 
also the duchy of Tuscany. He circulated rumours that the 
late duke of Tuscany was not the legitimate son of his 
father Adalbert, nor was his brother Lambert, the reigning 
duke, legitimate either. On the strength of this, Hugh 
treacherously seized on Lambert, put out his eyes, appro- 
priated the duchy of Tuscany, and then rushed to Rome to 
take Marozia to his arms. The unhallowed marriage was 
celebrated in the castle of S. Angelo, and so this "holy 
man," as Luitprand designates him, went to his ruin. Albe- 
ric, son of Marozia, was commanded to hold the water for 
the king to wash his hands after his meal. Performing his 
office awkwardly or reluctantly, he spilt it, and received a 
slap in the face for his fault. Alberic called the Romans to 
arms to resent this insult, and cast off the burden of main- 
taining the Burgundian soldiers of Hugh. The castle of S. 

Dec. 12.] •5'. Adelhaid. 1 63 

Angelo was attacked, Hugh fled precipitately, and Alberic 
cast his mother into prison. Hugh made no further attempts 
to regain Rome. He held his court at Pavia. He now 
declared his marriage with Marozia void, and married Alda, 
daughter of King Lothair. On her death he wedded 
Bertha, widow of King Rudolf II. of Burgundy, and 
daughter of Burkhardt, duke of Swabia, and united the 
daughter of Rudolf to his son Lothair. This daughter was 
Adelhaid, and she was aged sixteen when she married the 
son of the man who had wedded her mother. The marriage 
was incestuous, but no prelate of the time ventured to 
remonstrate. Hugh bestowed the great bishoprics accord- 
ing to his caprice. One of his bastards he made bishop of 
Piacenza, another he made archdeacon of Milan, and at- 
tempted the assassination of the archbishop in the hope 
of forcing his son into the place thus bloodily opened to 
him. To Manasses, a favourite, archbishop of Aries, he 
gave the bishoprics of Trent, Verona, and Mantua. His 
court was a scene of debauch and licence. But Berengar, 
marquis of Ivrea, who had married the daughter of Boso, 
brother of King Hugh, rose in revolt. At the head of a 
large army, which gathered as it swept through Lombardy, 
Berengar approached Pavia, arid wrested from the king his 
richest possessions. Hugh, in disgust, withdrew, drawing 
after him his treasures in waggon-loads, and buried his 
chagrii\ in the cloisters of S. Peter's, at Aries, where he died 
the year after, a.d. 941. His son Lothair enjoyed the barren 
honour of the title of king for three years, and then died in 
delirium, a.d. 950. 

Berengar and his son Adalbert became kings of Italy. 
Berengar sought to unite the young and beautiful widow of 
Lothair to his own son Adalbert, and on her refusal treated 
her with indignity. She was stripped of her jewels and 
costly raiment, beaten, her hair torn from her head, and she 

1 64 L ives of the Saints. ^jy^ „. 

was cast into a fetid dungeon of a castle on the Lake of 

From this she escaped, it is said, by the aid of a priest, 
who bored a hole through the wall of her prison. During 
her flight she was so closely pursued that, on one occasion, 
she was obliged to crouch among the standing com to avoid 
those who were searching for hen She fell into a marsh, 
and lay there all night, till rescued by a fisherman in the 
morning. She took refuge with the bishop of Reggio, a 
kinsman, who sent her to his brother Atto, who commanded 
the strong fortress of Canossa. In this she was besieged by 
Berengar and his son during three years, but the impreg- 
nable situation and strong fortifications of Canossa defied all 
stheir efforts. Atto held counsel with the young queen, and 
sent entreaties to Otho, duke of Saxony, then victorious 
over the Hungarians, to come to her assistance, and accept 
her hand in return for her deliverance. 

The castle was reduced to extremity, and about to capi- 
tulate, when the messenger returned with the joyful news 
that Otho had crossed the Alps, and was coming with forced 
marches to its relief Biit the messenger could not get into 
the castle, so closely was it surrounded. He therefore tied 
his communication to an arrow, and launched it into the yard 
of the citadel. The news filled, the gallant defenders with 
fresh courage. Otho was already at Verona, his son Ludolf 
had preceded him, and was at Milan when the messenger 
left. The German army caught the besiegers unawares. 
Berengar fled, but Adalbert and his two sons were taken 
and sent as hostages into Germany. Otho married the 
young widow, who was some twenty years his junior. 

Ludolf, his son, quarrelled with his unwished-for step- 
mother, and dreading the fate of his unfortunate uncle 
Thankmar, suddenly quitted his father and plotted rebellion 
with the archbishop of Mainz. Ludolf s sister, the wife of 

Dec. «.] •^- Adelhaid. 165 

Conrad of Lorraine, to whom Adelhaid was greatly obnoxious, 
espoused the cause of her brother, who also found an ally in 
her husband, whom Otho had offended. For four years 
Otho was engaged in German wars, civil wars against his 
sons, and wars against the Hungarians. During three years 
Berengar and his son ruled the Italians with cruel severity. 
Ludolf, who had returned to the allegiance of his father, was 
despatched, to Italy with an army to restrain them. After 
having overcome all resistance, he died, probably of fever. 
Berengar and Adalbert resumed their tyrannies, and the cry 
was loud for the interposition of the Germans. 

Otho descended the Alps in the winter of 961-2, and was 
met at Pavia by Pope John XII., who anointed and crowned 
him as emperor, and Adelhaid as empress. Thenceforth the 
king of Germany claimed to be the Western emperor. Otho 
swore to protect the Church of Rome against all her enemies ; 
and Pope John took the oath of allegiance to him in Rome 
over the body of S. Peter, only to break it as soon as the back 
of the emperor was turned. 

In the midst df the turmoil of political affairs, Adelhaid 
disappears from view. We only know of her that she was 
gentle, pious, and charitable, and that she attended with care 
to her son Otho. At Rome, in 972, this prince was married 
to Theophano, daughter of Romanus, emperor of Byzantium. 
Her extraordinary beauty attracted universal admiration. 
The trappings of the horse on which she rode were adorned 
with feathers, her Grecian dress was resplendent with jewels 
and pearls, and her hair was confined in a golden net. Yet 
all this splendour was outshone by the beauty of her features 
and the brilliancy of her eyes. 

Otho I. died in 967, and the son of Adelhaid was king. 

Otho II. was naturally of an impetuous and passionate 
temper, biit his mother had carefully educated him, and not 
only had refined his tastes, but had given him a love of 

1 66 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 12. 

letters. His wife Theophano also sympathized in his love of 

Adelhaid had bome to Otho I. three sons — Otho II., 
Henry, and Bruno; and two daughters— Adelhaid, abbess of 
Essen, and Mathilda, abbess of Quedlinburg. Otho II. was 
only seventeen when his father died, and for a while his 
mother acted as regent. But Otho could not agree with his 
mother; the sudden acquisition of power in his hands proved 
too great a temptation for him to admit of her authority, or, 
perhaps, influenced by Theophano, his wife, who was jealous 
of the interference of her mother-in-law, he speedily broke with 
Adelhaid, drove her from court, and she was obliged to take 
refuge with her brother Conrad, king of Burgundy, at Vienne. 
Otho, however, at the exhortation of S. Majolus, abbot of 
Clugny, and probably stung by his own conscience, for he 
was good-hearted, recalled her. She went to meet her son at 
Pavia, accompanied by S. Majolus, and Otho threw himself 
on his knees before his mother, and asked her pardon for 
the wrong he had done her. She knelt before him, they 
clasped one another in their arms, and wept on each other's 
necks. After that Otho remained firmly attached to his 

Adelhaid took as her director first Adalbert, archbishop of 
the new see of Magdeburg, founded by her husband, and 
after his death, Odilo, abbot of Clugny, her biographer. She 
founded or restored several monasteries and convents in 
Saxony, Italy, and Burgundy. 

She endowed the abbey of Murbach in Elsass, and the 
priory of S. Peter at Colmar. She founded a monastery at 
Salz, or Schlehm, in the diocese of Strassburg. 

On the death of Otho II., Adelhaid had much to endure 
from the temper and pride of Theophano, who treated her 
with discourtesy and unkindness. 

In the last year of her life Adelhaid went into Burgundj 

Dec. 12.] •5'. Adelhaid. 1 6 7 

to endeavour to compose the discord which had broken out 
between King Rudolf, her nephew, and his vassals. 
" Whilst she was at S. Maurice, in the Valais, she heard of 
the death of Franco, the recently-appointed bishop of 
Worms, at Rome, where was her grandson, Otho III., and she 
felt anxious lest the fatal soil or lax morals of Italy should 
aflfect the health of either the soul or body of Otho. From 
S. Maurice she went to Lausanne, and then to Orbe, whence 
she sent presents to several churches — to S. Benoit on the 
Loire, tp Clugny, and to S. Martin at Tours, for the rebuild- 
ing of the abbey church, lately burned down. She saw S. 
Odilo of Clugny, kissed his habit, and bade him farewell : she. 
should see his face no more. 

. Then she started for Salz, and falling ill with fever on the 
way, was conveyed there, and died, after having received the 
last sacraments with great devotion, on the i6th of De- 
cember, 999, when aged about fifty-eight. She was buried 
at Salz. 

Some of her relics are contained in a shrine which is pre- 
served at Hanover. 

1 68 Lives of the Saints. p^c. 13. 

December 13. 


S. Antiochus, M. in the IsU of Solta ; circ. a.d. 121. 

S. Lucy, V.M. at Syracuse; a.d. 303. 

SS. EusTRATus, Orbstbs, and Others, MM. m Armenia; a.d. 

S. Abra, V. at Poitiers ; circ. A.D. 40a 
S. Autbbrt, B. ofCam^ai; A.D. 668. 
S. JUDOC, P.H. in Ponthieu; 7tkcent, 
S. Odilia, V. in Elsass; Zth cent, 
S. Elizabeth Rose, K. at Villeckausson, near Courtenay; a.d. 

S. JEANNE-FRAN901SB DB Chantal, W. atAnnecy; k.t>. 1641. 

S. LUCY, V.M. 
(a.d. 303.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, &c. Anglican Reformed Kalendar. 
Moscow Menology of 1850, with legend from the Latin Martyrologies. 
Moscow Kalendar of 1818 ; the Menology of the Emperor Basil. The 
8th cent. Constantinopolitan Kalendar, and the marble engraved' 9th 
cent. Neapolitan Kalendar. Authority : — The fabulous Acts, a Christian 
romance, possibly based on a few facts.] 

LUCY, it is alleged, was the daughter of a 
noble and wealthy family in Sjrracuse. Her father 
died during her infancy, and she was brought up 
in the faith of Christ by her mother, Eutychia. 
While she was still very young, S. Lucy, without the know- 
ledge of her mother, dedicated herself to Christ by a vow of 
perpetual celibacy. Accordingly, when she was asked in 
marriage by a noble heathen youth of Syracuse, Eutychia 
used her influence with her daughter in his favour, seeing 
that the marriage was an advantageous one, both from the 

Dec. 13.] 

S. Lucy. 169 

position and fortune of the suitor, and from the known recti- 
tude of his character. 

Her mother was thereupon attacked by a bloody flux, 
which resisted all medicine, till, at the advice of Lucy, Euty- 
chia visited the tomb of S. Agatha at Catania. 

Then Lucy obtained her dower from her mother, and at 
once dispersed it among the needy. Her suitor, highly in- 
censed, denounced her to the governor, Paschasius, who had 
her arrested and brought before him. The Acts contain the 
particulars of a long discussion between the judge and the 
virgin, which bears a family resemblance to all other such 
discussions, and which, if genuine, would oblige the reader 
to believe that all early Christian martyrs were imbecile, and 
all their judges fools. But as these discussions are all cer- 
tainly fictitious, they exhibit nothing but the barrenness of 
invention of the minds of the romancers who composed or 
amplified these tales of martyrdom. 

The judge finally ordered Lucy to be taken from the judg- 
ment hall. A crowd of attendants surrounded her. Some 
pushed at her with their shoulders, some dragged, but though 
they streamed with perspiration (deficiebant stidore), they 
could not make her stir an inch. Then ropes were 
attached to^ her hands and feet, and the crowd pulled at the 
ropes, but also in vain. Oxen were yoked to the virgin, and 
though they strained every nerve, not a jot could she be 

Paschasius then ordered pitch and faggots to be heaped 
round her, oil to be poured upon the pile, and the whole to 
be kindled. But this attempt failed as ignominiously as the 
other. Then, as a last resource, the sword was tried : her 
throat was cut, and she bled to death. With saints as with 
witches, when everything else proves ineffectual to hurt 
them, cold steel breaks the charm. But before she died, she 
was able to announce that thenceforth Catania would not be 

1 70 Lives of the Saints. p^pc. 13. 

the^ only Sicilian city privileged with the possession of a 
virgin martyr, but that Syracuse would divide the honour 
with the former city. 

It is not improbable that a virgin Lucy did suffer at 
Syracuse, and died by the sword, but the Acts are worthless. 

The relics of S. Lucy were translated to Constantinople, 
and thence to Venice. But Faroald, duke of Spoleto, having 
seized on Sicily in the seventh century, carried off the relics 
to Corsino, whence they were taken in 970 to Metz. There 
is consequently a dispute between Metz and Venice as to 
which possesses the genuine body of the virgin martyr. 

S. Lucy is generally represented with a palm-branch in one 
hand, and in the other a burning lamp, expressive of her 
name, which means " light " in Latin. In place of this last 
emblem she sometimes carries a book, or dish, or shell, on 
which are two eyes — another, but less evident mode of 
allusion to her name. A wound in her throat, from which 
issues rays of light, is another mode of suggesting the same 

S; ABRA, V. 

(about A.D. 400.) 

[Galilean Martyrologies. Venerated at Poitiers. Authority : — The 
Life of S. Hilary of Poitiers by Venantius Fortunatus.] 

S. Abra, the only daughter of S, Hilary of Poitiers, was 
bom to him before he was raised to the bishopric. When 
S. Hilary was driven from his see, she remained with her 
mother at Poitiers. The governor of that city had a son 
who was attached to the young Abra, and declared his pas- 
sion to her mother. When Hilary heard, in his exile, that 
a marriage was contrived for his daughter, he was highly 
incensed. He had conceived the idea of dedicating the 

Dec. 13.] 

S. Autbert. 171 

young girl to a virgiaal life. He therefore wrote her a 
vehement letter, urging her on no account to listen to pro- 
posals of marriage, and exalting the state of virginity as that 
which a Christian maiden ought to cleave to as her highest 

Abra could not well refuse to follow the determination of 
her father, whom she reverenced as an oracle of God. 
With the letter he sent her a couple of hymns he had com- 
posed, one for the morning, the other for the evening, and 
he begged her to siiig these daily, in order that she might 
have her father constantly in mind. The second of these 
hymns has been lost, but the first is preserved, and is sung 
by the Church of Poitiers at Lauds on the festival of S. 

On the return of the bishop in 360, he found that his 
daughter had acquiesced more or less readily in his decision. 
But apparently the surrender of the youth she had loved was 
not without a struggle which had affected her health. Hilary 
found her docile indeed, but languid, probably heart-broken. 
She died painlessly in his presence shortly after his return, 
and was followed not long after by her mother. 

(a.d. 668.) 

[Roman, Galilean, and Belgian Mart3n-ologies. Usuardus, Notker, 
&c. Authority : — A Life in Surius, apparently by Fulbert (d. 1029), 
who wrote by order of Bishop Gerard of Cambrai.] 

On the death of Aldebert, bishop of Cambrai, the people 
elected in his room Autbert, of whose early life nothing is 
known. He received sacred unction on March 21, 633, 
from the hands of Leudegast, metropolitan of Rheims, 
assisted by Atholus of Laon, and S. Acharius of Noyon. 

172 L ives of the Saints. jd^c. ,3. 

His virtues soon made him illustrious, and Dagobert I. 
was wont to listen with respect to his exhortations, and put 
them in practice when convenient. 

Among those youths who were intrusted to his charge 
to train for the Church, by parents who were overburdened 
with younger sons, was one named Landelin, who had no 
real vocation for the clerical life. He was impatient at the 
restraints, disgusted with the routine, and indisposed to 
embrace a life of celibacy. He accordingly ran away from 
S. Autbert, and as he dared not return to his parents, who 
were only eager to get rid of him, he joined a party of 
freebooters, called himself Morosus, and led a life the 
reverse of that to which he had been constrained in the 
school of the bishop. 

One of his companions died, and after the funeral Morosus 
or Landelin dreamed that he saw him in the torments of hell, 
and heard that he was himself to share the fate of his comrade 
unless he returned to Autbert. He at once deserted his band, 
and went back to his master, and to the gravity and monotony 
of his former life. He afterwards became abbot of Crespin, 
and is numbered with the saints (June 15). 

S. Ghislain founded his monastery at Ursidongus about 
thiS' time. Prejudiced persons endeavoured to dispose 
Autbert to regard Ghislain with suspicion, but be said, " Let 
us not judge strangers, let us prove the spirits whether they 
be of God," and he sent for S. Ghislain. He was so well 
satisfied with the sincerity and earnestness of the stranger, 
that he offered to consecrate his church for him. And when 
the church was completed he went to it with S. Amandus 
and gave the new building episcopal consecration. 

Among those present at the dedication was Madelgar, a 
noble, who then resolved to devote himself to God. He went 
shortly after to Cambrai, and received the tonsure from the 
hands of the bishop ; after which he retired to a monastery 

"Dec. 13.] 

5. Judoc. 1 73 

he built at Hautmont. His wife, S. Waltrudis, followed his 
example, and built a religious house at Chateau- Lieu, now 
called Mons. 

S. Aldegund, the sister of S. Waltrudis, learning that S. 
Amandus and S. Autbert would be together one day at Haut- 
mont, presented herself before the two bishops, and implored 
them to give her the veil. They consented, and she founded 


(7TH CENT.) 

[Galilean and Roman Martyrologies. Authorities : — A Life by an 
anonymous author of the Sth cent, in Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. saec. 
ii. Another Life by the Abbot Florentius, in Surius ; a third Life 
from the Abbey of S. Meen, published in the ist vol. of ** Memoires 
pour servir 4 I'histoire de Bretagne." A Life in Ordericus Vitalis, 1. iii. 
c. 13.] 

S. JuDoc, also called Josse, was the son of Hoel III., 
king of Brittany. He was younger brother of S. Judicael, 
so that he must have been born about 591. His youth was 
passed in the monastery of San Maelmon. When S. Judicael 
resolved on abdicating, that he might retire to a monastery, he 
asked his brother Judoc to ascend the throne in his room, 
and look after his children. Judoc asked eight days to con- 
sider the proposal, and during them fled the monastery, in 
company with some pilgrims who were passing, and took 
up his abode with Haymon, count of Ponthieu, who had 
him ordained to serve as his chaplain. After some years 
Judoc asked leave to retire from the world, and was given 
Ray, on the river Authie, where he built a cell and chapel. 
There he spent eight years, till the curiosity of the people 
who came to observe him, and obtain miracles from him, 
drove him thence to Runiac, on the river Canche. The site 
of his cell there has become the town of Saint Josse. 

1 74 ^ ^^^ ^f i^ Saints. [^ec. 13. 

After thirteen years spent at this place, he went into the 
forest land, and obtained from Count Hajrmon a grant of 
the valley of Pidrague. This was in 671, twenty-nine years 
after his flight from Brittany. He then set off for Rome, 
where he was received by Pope Vitalianus, and given many 

Judoc died a few years after his return, about 675.^ His 
relics are preserved in the parish church of Saint Josse, at 
the mouth pf the Canche, near Montreuil. 


(about A.D. 720.) 

[Roman Martyrologies. Venerated in the diocese of Strassburg. 
Authority : — A Life by a writer in the nth cent. (** Scarcely to be used 
as authentic." — Potthast) in Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. saec iii. p. 2. 
Also a Life by an almost contemporary writer, of which a fragment has 
been published by Grandidier, "Hist, de T^lise'de Strasbourg," i. 
No. 27.] 

The legend of S. Odilia is as follows ; it must not be 
regarded as serious history, at least in its details : — 

Adalric, duke of Elsass, by his wife Berchsind, maternal 
aunt of S. Leodegar, became the father of a little girl who 
was bom blind. Disgusted at this, he ordered the child to 
be exposed or put to death, but the mother committed it to 
a poor woman, and then, when the child had grown to girl- 
hood, sent her to the convent of Baume. 

There she remained twelve years unbaptized, till a Bava- 
rian bishop, named Erhardt, in obedience to a dream, 
travelled to Baume to baptize the child. 

No sooner was she baptized than her eyes were opened. 

* Lobineau, however, says 668 or 669. If the date of the abdication of Judicael 
could be fixed, that of the death of Judoc could be fixed approximately. 

Dec. 13.] 

S. Odi/ta. 175 

Her brother Hugo brought her to her father, but the duke 
fell on the young man and struck him with his dagger, so 
that he died. Adalric, horror-struck at what he had done, 
felt the most poignant repentance, and did all in his power 
to make amends, by showing love to his daughter. He 
i?frished to marry her to the duke of the Allemanni, but 
Odilia fled from home, and when she was pursued by her 
father, a rock opened and received her in its bosom and con- 
cealed her from pursuit. Adalric then gave up his attempt, 
and promised her a convent and nuns, if she would become 
abbess^ He built her a house at Hohenburg, and she re- 
tired to it and spent there the rest of her days. On her 
death, she was buried there. 

Her shrine is an object of much resort by pilgrims, and 
their offerings are considerable; so much so, that in 1849 
the pilgrimage church and the relics of the saint were put 
up to public auction, as a profitable speculation for the 
investment of capital, in spite of an energetic remonstrance 
from the bishop of Strassburg. 

S. Odilia is represented in art with a couple of eyes repos- 
ing on the pages of a book. She is vested as an abbess, and 
may thus be distinguished from S. Lucy, who has the same 
symbol, and is commemorated on the same day. It is 
possible that some confusion between the saints has given 
rise to the fable of Odilia's miraculously obtaining sight by 
baptism. She, like S. Lucy, is invoked in cases of ophthal- 
mia and inflammation of the eyes. 

tmfammmr'mmmmmi^^^^^'''''^^^^^^^^^ - — ^ "^ ^m,^^,^^mw^^>mf^m,^^^^m^^m-mm^^ 

1 76 Lives of the Saints, p>^ ,3^ 


(a.d. 1 641.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Beatified by Benedict XIV. on Nov. 13, 
1 75 1, and canonized on Aug. 17, 1767, by Clement XIII., who ap- 
pointed that her festival should be observed on Aug. 21, though she 
died on Dec. 13. Authorities :— The Act of Canonization, her letters 
and those of S. Francis of Sales. Her Life by Beaufils, 1752 ; another 
by Henri de Maupas, bishop of Le Puy, 1753 ; another by Marsollier, 
1772. There is a modem Life by the Abb^ Bougaud, "Histoire de 
Sainte Chantal et des origines de la Visitation," Paris, 1863.] 

Jeanne -FRAN901SE Fremyot was born at Dijon an 
January 23, 1572. Her mother died when she was only 
eighteen months old, but her father, B^igne Fremyot, saw 
that she was properly educated. She was zealous in her 
profession of the Catholic faith. One day, when she was 
five years old, she heard a Huguenot gentleman deny the 
Real Presence before her father. The child went up to him 
and said, "Jesus Christ said that He was in the Holy 
Sacrament, and one must beheve His word, or make Him a 
liar.'' The gentleman, amused at the precocity of the child, 
gave her some su^ar-plums, but she flung them into the 
fire. When old enough to be married, her sister planned a 
union between her and a Calvinist gentleman, a friend of 
the brother-in-law of Jeanne, but she concealed firom her* 
his religious opinions. Jeanne, however, observed him at 
the Fete Dieu neither kneel nor remove his hat, as the Blessed 
Sacrament passed, and she at once broke off the engage- 

She was married at an early age to Christophe de Rabu- 
tin, baron of Chantal, and lord of Bourbilly and of Mont- 
helm, whose mother was descended from S. Humbeline, 
sister of S. Bernard. She at once instituted a daily Mass in 

Dec. 13.] '^- y^^»^^ Fran^oise de ChantaL 177 

the chapel of her casde, but on Sundays and festivals went 
to the parish church, though situated at some distance, in 
order to set an example to the peasant!^. 

In a famine she was very charitable, giving soup and 
bread to the poor at her gates. Some of the poor made the 
circuit of the castle and reappeared as beggars. She noticed 
this, but did not refuse them a second portion. " Have I 
not to beg and beg of my God repeatedly?" she said. 

Her husband was accidentally shot whilst out hunting, and 
left her a widow, aged twenty-eight, with three children. 
They had had six, but three were dead. 

She went to live with her father-in-law, the old Baron de 
Chantal, at Monthelm. He was seventy-two, and not only' 
was he ill-tempered, but he had introduced into the castle 
a lady of doubtful reputation, who had gained complete 
sway over him, and ruled the entire household. This woman 
treated the young widow with studied discourtesy. 

In 1604 she mfet S. Francis of Sales, and then began that 
long and tender intimacy which lasted during the life of the 
saintly bishop of Geneva, and which was the means of draw- 
ing forth a beautiful correspondence which is an unfailing 
source of delight to pious readers. She chose him as her 
director, and made her vow of submission to him on Sep- 
tember 2, 1604, at Notre Dame de TEtang, a favourite place 
of Burgundian pilgrimage. She heard Mass every morn- 
ing, then directed the education of her children. She made 
her own bed, and cleaned her own room daily, and dis- 
pensed with the assistance of a lady's maid for dressing her 

One day S. Francis asked her if she wanted to be married 
again. She answered that she had no such intention. 
"Then," said he, looking at her piled-up hair, done elabo- 
rately according to the fashion of the day, " down with the 
pilot signal." 

VOL. XII. - N 

lyS Lives of the Saints. pec. 13. 

She took the hint, cut her hair shorter, and dressed it more 

She continued her charities as far as her means permitted. 
One day three tramps asked alms of her. As she had no 
money in her house, she took oflf and gave them a valuable " 

ring which had belonged to her husband. The moment her 
back was turned, the tramps, knowing the value of the ring, 
decamped as fast as they could, shrewdly suspecting that the 
Baron de Chantal, if he heard of what had been done, would 
send after them, and reclaim his son's ring. This he appa- 
rently did, but the tramps had concealed themselves, so that 
they could not be discovered. Miracle-grubbers have there- ^ 
upon concluded that they were the Three Persons of the f 
Trinity, visiting Jeanne as the three angels visited Abraham. ' 
If they could have seen the tramps sell the ring to a Jew in ; 
Dijon, and* get drunk on the proceeds, they might have been 
disposed to modify their opinion. 

S. Francis of Sales had planned. an Order of ladies living 
together in the practice of active works of charity, without 
any very distinctive dress, or making profession of asceticism 
which would be modified in the next generation. This Order 
he resolved to call that of the Visitation, and he persuaded 
the Baroness de Chantal to become its first superior. The 
first congregation was formed at Annecy, under the direct 
supervision of S. Francis of Sales ; and the sisters devoted 
themselves to nursing the sick in their cottages. The 
Society throve, arid it was resolved to establish a second 
house at Lyons. 

The king had granted letters patent for the foundation of 
a house of " Sisters of the Presentation " at Lyons, and as 
this foundation had proved a failure, the archbishop re- / 
solved to make use of these letters for the authorization of 
this new Society. For this purpose the words " of the Pre- 
sentation*' were carefully erased from the parchment con- 



Dec. 13.] •5'. Jeanne Fran^oise de ChantaL 1 79 

taining the royal signature, and " of the Viskation '* was sub- 

The substitution was, of course, fraudulent, if well inten- 
tioned, and rendered the perpetrator of it, should he be dis- 
covered, liable to imprisonment in the Bastille. Conse- 
quently it was determined to screen the person who had 
committed the ingenious, but dishonest alteration, by an- 
nouncing it to be miraculous, and experts decided that the 
handwriting was indisputably that of the Almighty. 

Madame de Chantal had the grief of learning the death of 
her son, killed on the island of Rh^ in opposing the landing 
of the English, and of her daughter, Madame de Thorens, 
married to the brother of S. Francis. Her father also died ; 
but perhaps her greatest loss was that of her dear friend and 
guide, S. Francis. She saw her Society erected into an 
acknowledged Order, not, however, like most Orders, under 
one superior, but with each house subject to the bishop of 
the diocese in which it was situated. This was the express 
stipulation of S. Francis. 

She made the acquaintance of S. Vincent of Paul, and 
the two saints recognized the high gifts possessed by each 

On the 8th December, 1641, she was attacked by inflam- 
mation of the lungs, on her way from Paris, at Moulins, and 
died on December 13, at eight o'clock in the morning, at the 
age of seventy. 

Her body reposes in the church of the Visitation at 

1 80 Lives of the Saints. [d^c. X4. 

December 14. 

SS. Hero, Arsenius, and Others, MM. at Alexandria ; a.d. 

SS. Justus and Abundus, MM.; a.d. 284. 

S. Spiridion, B.C. in Cyprus; a.d. 350. 

SS. Nicasius, B.M.f and Eutropia, V,M. at Rheims ; circ. a.d. 

SS. GuiNGER or Fingar AND PiALA, MM. at Ploudiri in Brit- 
tany; stk cent, (see March 12). 

S. Venantius Fortunatus, B. qf Poitiers ; a.d. 600. 

S. FuLQUiNUS, B. of Tkerouanne ; a.d. 855. 

S.John of the Cross, C. at Ubeda in Spain; a.d. 1591 {ttee 
Novl 24). 

(A.D. 350.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, by the Greeks on Dec. 12. Au- 
thorities : — Ruffinus, Hist. Eccl. lib. i. c. 5 ; Socrates, H. E. lib. i. c. 12 ; 
Sozomen, H.E. lib. i. c. ii ; S. Athanas. Apol. 2 ; Photius, Biblioth. 
sub nom.] 

MONG the bishops who assembled at the council 
of Nicaea, one of the most remarkable was Spiri- 
dion, bishop of Trimithus, in the island of Cyprus. 
He had been a shepherd before he was made 
bishop ; he remained a shepherd afterwards. Strange tales 
circulated about him. It was said that one night robbers 
entered his fold to steal a sheep, when they found themselves 
arrested by invisible bonds. In the morning when the 
shepherd-bishop came to let forth his sheep, he found the 
robbers in his fold. " Take a ram and begone, that your 
trouble may not be unrepaid," he said. " But I wish you 

Dec. 14.3 •^- Spiridion. , i8i 

had asked me for one before you ventured to lay hands on 
my sheep." 

On the death of his wife, his daughter Irene attended him ; 
but she died also. One day a man asked him to restore a 
deposit that had been left with Irene. The bishop was in 
despair ; his daughter had not told him where she had con- 
cealed it. He went to her grave, and called her by name. 
She answered, and asked what he wanted. " Where, my 
child, have you hidden the deposit confided to you?" She 
told him where it was buried. He dug on the spot indicated, 
and was able to give the money back to the depositor. 

Two less marvellous but more instructive stories bring out 
the simplicity of his character. He rebuked a celebrated 
preacher at Cyprus for altering, in a quotation from the Gos- 
pels, the homely word for " bed " into " couch." " What ! 
are you better than He who said 'bed,' that you are ashamed 
to use His words?" 

On the occasion of a wayworn traveller coming to him in' 
Lent, finding no other food in the house, he presented him 
with salted pork; and when the stranger declined, saying 
that he could not break his Lenten fast, the bishop replied, 
" So much the more reason have you for eating. To the pure, 
all things are pure," and began himself to eat the pork. 

" A characteristic legend attaches to the account of his 
journey to the council of Nicaea. It was- his usual practice 
to travel on foot ; but on this occasion, the length of the 
journey, as well as the dignity of his oflftce, induced him to 
ride, in company with his deacon, on two mules, a white and 
a chestnut. One night, on his arrival at a caravanserai, where 
a cavalcade of orthodox bishops were already assembled, the 
mules were turned out to pasture, whilst he retired to his 
devotions. The bishops had conceived an alarm lest the 
cause of orthodoxy should suffer in the council by the igno- 
rance or awkwardness of the shepherd of Cyprus, when 

1 82 Lives of tJie Saints. [Dec. 14. 

opposed to the subtleness of the Alexandrian heretic. Ac- 
cordingly, taking advantage of this encounter, they deter- 
mined to throw a decisive impediment in his way. They cut 
off the heads of his two mules, and then, as is the custom in 
oriental travelling, started on their journey before sunrise. 
Spiridion also rose, but was met by his terrified deacon, an- 
nouncing the unexpected disaster. On arriving at the spot, 
the saint bade the deacon attach the heads to the dead 
bodies. He did so, and at a sign from the bishop, the two 
mule^, with their restored heads, shook themselves as if from 
a deep sleep, and started to their feet. Spiridion and the 
deacon mounted, and soon overtook the travellers. As the 
day broke, the prelates and the deacon were alike astonished 
at seeing that he, performing the annexation in the dark and 
in haste, had fixed the heads on the wrong shoulders, so that 
the white mule had now a chestnut head, and the chestnut 
mule had the head of its white companion. Thus the miracle 
was doubly attested, the bishops doubly discomfited, and 
the simplicity of Spiridion doubly exemplified." ^ 

Many more stories might be told of him, but to use the 
words of an ancient writer who has related some of them, 
" from the claws you can make out the lion.'*^ 

A large number of the bishops present at the coiincil of 
Nicaea were rough, simple, almost illiterate men, holding 
their faith earnestly and sincerely, but without being able 
very clearly to explain the grounds of their belief, or 
to enter into the arguments of the philosophical Arians 
of the polished Alexandrian Church. A story somewhat 
variously related is told of an encounter of one of these 
simple characters, whom later writers identify with Spiridion, 

* Dean Stanley, "Lectures on the Eastern Church," p. io8. The slory he had 
from oral tradition* at Mount Athos and in Corfu. The horses are no doubt the 
legacy of primitive mythology : the white horse of Day with the dark head of 
Evening, and the dark horse of Night with the luminous head of Morning. 

a Photius, Biblioth. 47X. 

Dec. 14.] S. Sptridton, 183 

with more philosophical combatants. As Socrates describes 
the incident, the disputes were running so high, from the 
mere pleasure of argument, that there seemed likely to be 
no end to the controversy, when suddenly a simple-minded 
layman, who by his sightless eye or limping leg bore witness 
to his having played the man for Christ in the persecution 
of Diocletian, stepped amongst them, and said abruptly : 
** Christ and His Apostles left us, not a system of logic, nor 
a vain deceit, but a naked truth, to be guarded by faith and 
good works." The bystanders were struck, the disputants 
were silenced, and the hubbub of controversy subsided. 

Another version of the story, or another story of the same 
kind, with a somewhat different moral, is told by Sozomen 
and Ruffinus, and amplified by later writers. A heathen 
philosopher named Eulogius took occasion from the animosi- 
ties and heartburnings of those present at Nicaea to pro- 
claim the superiority of paganism, its large toleration, its 
genial readiness to admit of all kinds of worship ; and to 
argue against the pretensions of Christianity. An aged 
bishop who was present, uncouth in appearance, mutilated 
by the cruelty of persecution, was unable to bear the taunts 
with which the philosopher assailed a group of Christians, 
amongst whom he was standing, and he worked his way to 
the forefront and prepared to meet him in argument. His 
wild, ragged appearance, and his deformity, provoked a burst 
of derisive laughter from the crowd, and the Christians were 
not a little uneasy at seeing their cause undertaken by so 
unskilled a champion. But he felt himself strong in his own 
simplicity. " In the name of Jesus Christ," he called to his 
antagonist, "hear me, philosopher. There is one God, 
maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and 
invisible, who made all things by the power of His Word, 
and by the holiness of His Spirit. This Word, by which 
name we call the Son of God, took compassion on men for 

184 L ives of the Saints. ^^^ ,^, 

their wandering astray, and for their savage condition, and 
chose to be bom of a woman, and to converse with men, 
and to die for them, and He shall come again to judge 
every one for the tilings done in life. These things we 
believe without curious inquiry. Cease therefore the vain 
labour of seeking proofs for or against what is established by 
faith, and the manner in which these things may be or may 
not be ;• but, if thou believest, answer at once to me as I put 
my questions to you." 

The philosopher was struck dumb by this new mode of 
argument. He could only reply that he assented. " Then,'* 
answered the old man, " if thou believest this, rise and follow 
me to the Lord's house, and receive the sign of this faith." 
The philosopher turned round to his disciples, or to those 
who had been gathered round him by curiosity. " Hear," 
he said, " my learned friends. So long as it was a matter of 
words, I opposed words to words, and whatever was spoken 
I overthrew by my skill in speaking ; but when, in the place 
of words, power came out of the speaker's lips, words could 
no longer resist power. If any of you feel as I have felt, let 
him believe in Christ, and follow this old man through 
whose mouth God has spoken." Exaggerated or not, this 
story is a proof of the magnetic power of earnestness and 
simplicity over argument and speculation- Later historians 
than Sozomen unhesitatingly identify this uncouth but 
vehement bishop with Spiridion of Cyprus. Tradition has 
preserved another incident of his acts at the council. He 
is said, aware of his incapacity for argument, to have taken a 
brick into the council, and said to the Arians, " You deny 
that Three can be One. Look at this brick, composed 
of the elements of earth and water and fire, and yet it is 
one." And as he spoke the brick resolved itself into its 
component parts: the fire flashed out, the water poured 
down, and the clay remained in his hands. Thus he is 

Dec. 14.] ^'S' Nicasius and Eutropia, 185 

represented in the pictures of the Nicene Council in Greek 

Spiridion died probably not long after the council His 
body rested many years in his native Cyprus, it was thence 
transferred to Constantinople, and thence, a few years before 
the fall of the empire, his body was translated to Corfu, 
where it is still preserved. Twice a year in solemn proces- 
sion he is carried round the streets of Corfu. 


(a.d. 407.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Usuardus. Authority : — A 
narrative of the martyrdom in Flodoard (d. 966).] 

Nicasius, bishop of Rheims in 400, built the basilica of 
Our Lady, now the cathedral, and transferred to it the epis- 
copal throne from that of the church of the Apostles, now 
called the church of S. Symphorian. 

In 407 a flood of Vandals and Alans poured over Gaul, 
entered Champagne, and besieged Rheims. The inhabi- 
tants defended their city with heroism. Their efforts were 
in vain : the invaders burst through the gates, and clambered 
the walls, and began a general pillage and massacre. A 
Vandal cleft the skull of S. Nicasius at the door of his 
cathedral. Eutropia, the sister of the bishop, was reserved 
for another fate, but fearing this more than death, she boxed 
the ears of her captor, kicked and struggled, till he lost his 
temper, and cut her down. With Nicasius suffered his 
deacon Florentius, and his lector Jucundus. 

The relics of S. Nicasius and his sister were laid in the 
church of S. Agricola, called afterwards by his name. This 
church was pulled down in 1793. 

1 86 Lives of the Saints. cdcc.m. 

In the nave of the cathedral of Rheims is a marble slab 
marking the spot where stood the ancient gates of the 
church, and where S. Nicasius suffered martyrdom. Only a 
few fragments of the bones of the saint are preserved in the 
cathedral of Rheims, most having been lost at the Revo- 

(about a.d. 600.) 

[Gallican Martyrologies. At Poitiers on this day. At Tours on Dec. 
17. Authorities : — Mention by Gregory of Tours, his contemporary, 
and his own writings.] 


Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus was 
an Italian, bom at Duplabilis, near Treviso, and educated at 
Ravenna. Having had an inflammation of his eyes cured 
by the intercession of S. Martin, before 560, in gratitude to 
the saint he left Italy and came to Gaul, to visit the relics of 
S. Martin at Tours. From Tours he went to Poitiers, and 
settled there. His eloquence and learning speedily made 
him renowned. In 565 he wrote an elegiac poem in honour 
of the marriage of Brunehild and Sigebert. He was raised 
to the priesthood at Poitiers, and afterwards became bishop 
of that place, probably after 594, the year in which Gregory 
of Tours died, for Gregory, who speaks of Fortunatus with 
admiration, does not mention that he was bishop. He was 
alive in 600. He was the author of several poems; the 
famous hymn, " Vexilla regis prodeunt " (The royal banners 
forward go), is by Venantius Fortunatus; it was used for the 
first time at Poitiers, on the arrival of some relics of the true 
Cross sent to S. Radegund, by the emperor Justin. The 
bishop of Poitiers, Meroveus, either disapproving of the 
cultus of relics, or doubting the genuineness of these, re- 

Dec. 14] ^' Fulquinus. 1 8 7 

WW\ I ■ ■ ■ I I !■■ I II - l' W - - - - IIIB I II Mifll^^^^M 

fused to honour with his presence their introduction into 
the city, and, mounting his horse, left the town, and for- 
bade their being brought processionally into Poitiers with 
hymns and lights. I^ing Sigebert interfered at the request 
of S. Radegund, and the archbishop of Tours, either more 
easily convinced of the merit of the relics, or indifferent to 
the question, and eager only to insure the favour of the 
king, performed the ceremony with the attendance of the 
clergy and people of Poitiers, and with daring contempt for 
the canonical rights of the bishop of the see. 

When Meroveus died, an obscure person named Plato suc- 
ceeded him ; but on the death of Plato, the party in favour 
of relics and asceticism carried the election of Fortunatus. 
He did not live long after his elevation. 


(about A.D. 855.) 

[Gallican and. Belgian Marty rologies. Authority: — A Life by Ful- 
quinus, abbot of Lobbes in the loth cent., in Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. 
saec. iv. I.] 

S. Fulquinus, or Fulk, was the son of Jerome, related to 
Charlemagne, of Frank race ; his mother, Erkensuitha, was of 
Gothic origin. He was appointed bishop of Tarvenna among 
the Morini, a people occupying French Flanders. Tarvenna 
is now the inconsiderable Therouanne. He was elected by 
the people, and their choice was confirmed by the bishops 
,and the sovereign^ Louis. He translated the relics of 
S. Omer from Sithieu, and placed those of S. Bertin in 
security from the Normans, whose incursions troubled his 
episcopal reign. Nothing else is related of him deserving of 
notice, except that his favourite horse, which was led before 
his body at the funeral, was observed to have tears running 

1 88 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 14. 

down its nose -} and after the death of his master, the horse 
refused to be mounted by anyone else. The stole of the 
saint, in which he was buried, is of great assistance to women 
in labour, who are allowed for a consideration to swallow a 
portion oflf it.* As the consumption of stole in Flanders 
must be considerable, we are thankful to learn from John of 
Ypres, abbot of Sithieu, that in his time the stole had multi- 
plied into three, ieach of which was similarly useful to women 
in their confinement. 

* "Hunc tantae scientia equum Fratribus dandum, feretrum praeeuntem ferunt 

3 " De stola ejus, quae adhuc restat, mulieribus difficultate partus laborantibus per 
ejus merita salutem sacpe provenisse vidimus, cum .... in ingressu ejusdem 
stolae partum edentes redderentur sanitati pristinse." 

Dec. 15.] '5'. Ckristtana. 189 

December 15. 

SS. iRENiBUS, Antonius, AND Othbrs, MM. at Rome; a.d. 

S. Christiana, A^. of the Iberians ; 2,rdcent. 
S. EusEBius, B. ofVercelli; circ. a.d. 374. 
S. Valerian, B.C. in Africa; a.d. 457. 
S. Maximinus, Ab. o/Mtscy; 6tk cent. 
S. Adalbero II., B. of Metz; a.d. 1005. 


(3RD CENT.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities : — Rufiinus, H. E. i. 10, and Moses 
of CJiorene. Ruffinus gives as his authority Bacurius, an Iberian petty 
prince, who joined the Romans, and was made captain of a military 
force in Palestine, and was afterwards honoured by Theodosius.] 

HE Iberians, occupying the country now called 
Georgia, east of the Euxine, were converted by 
the instramentality of a slave girl, known in Geor- 
gian Church history by the name of Nonna or 
Nina, said to have been bom at Colastri in Cappadocia, 
daughter of one Zabulon, and the maternal niece of the bishop 
of Jerusalem, and to have devoted herself, encouraged by 
visions, to preaching the Gospel in Iberia, whither she pro- 
ceeded after a missionary tour in Armenia. According to 
Western versions of her story, she was taken captive by the 
Iberians, and set an example among them of such conti- 
nence, prayer, and self-devotion, that she impressed greatly 
the imaginations of the barbarians. The king's child, a babe, 
was ill, and Nana the queen sent it to several women reputed 
charmers, to bewitch it into health. It was taken among 
others to the maid; she laid the child on her horse-cloth 

190 Lives of the Saints, ^ec. 15. 

bed, and said siiilply, " Christ, wh6 healed many, heal this 
babe also," and the boy was restored to his mother whole. 
Not long after, the queen having fallen sick, sent for the 
slave woman, but she, being a person of modest and retiring 
manners, excused herself from going. Then the queen had 
herself conveyed to where the woman lived, and was laid on 
her bed, when she also recovered. The queen thanked her 
for her recovery, but the stranger replied, " This work is 
not mine, but Christ's, and He is the Son of God, who made 
the world." 

Mirian, the Iberian king, amazed at his wife's restoration, 
wished to reward the woman, but she refused all his presents, 
saying that she desired but one thing, his conversion to Christ. 
Next day the king was out hunting, when a thick fog came 
on, and he lost his way. In his distress he invoked his 
gods, but the fog remained as thick as ever. He then called 
on the captive's God, and a wind sprang up and cleared 
away the mist. He found his way, and returned rejoicing 
to his palace, and then sent for the captive woman, and re- 
quired her to inform him who was the God that she adored. , 
She accordingly instructed him in her faith, and her words 
were with power. His heart was touched and he believed. 
He convened the chiefs of his nation, told them the cir- 
cumstances of the cure of his child and wife, and the dissi- 
pation of the fog, and declared his intention to introduce 
the Christian religion among his subjects. Instructed by 
the captive, he built a church. Again a miracle was wrought 
to confirm the faith of the Iberians, for a pillar at the prayer 
of the captive remained suspended in the air. When the 
church was built, an embassy was sent to Constantine the 
Great, requesting him to supply the Iberians with a bishop 
and regularly consecrated clergy. After witnessing the con- 
version of the country, and building churches in several 
parts of it, the saint withdrew to the mountain pass of Bodbe, 

Dec. 15.3 

S. Eusebius. 191 


in Kakheth, there to await her departure; and receiving the 
Holy Sacrament from the bishop of Iberia, gave her last 
injunctions and blessing to the, king and queen, who had 
come to take leave of her, and peacefully fell asleep. Her 
relics still rest in the cathedral of Bodbe, or Beda, under a 
tomb built in her honour by Bakar, twenty-fifth king of 
Georgia, founder of the see and cathedral.^ 

In the Roman Martyrology the captive woman is called 


(about A.D. 374.) 

[Roman Martyrology on Aug. I, Dec. 15 and 16. His festival fixed 
by Benedict XIII. for Dec. 15. In ancient kalendars on Aug. i. 
Authorities : — Hieron. Script. The letters of S. Ambrose, of Liberius, 
Sulpicius Severus. Hilar. Orat. 2. The letters of S. Athanasius, and of 
Lucifer, &c.] 

EusEBius, bishop of Vercelli, in Northern Italy, was a 
native of Sardinia, which may account for the attachment he 
afterwards felt for Lucifer of Cagliari. He was ordained 
lector at Rome, and then went to Vercelli, where he was 
elected to the bishopric ; and he is the first bishop of that 
see whose name has come down to us. He was the first 
prelate of the West who united the monastic to the clerical 
life ; he lived as a monk himself, and made the clergy of his 
city adopt the monastic life of the desert. 

Liberius wrote to him at a time of emergency. Constan- 
tius was bent on Arianizing the Church. Liberius wrote to 
Constantius, inviting him to summon a council at Aquileja ; 
but the emperor caused it to assemble at Aries, where the 
bishop, Satuminus, was an Arian. The first thing insisted 
on by the Arians at the council was, that the bishops should 

* Malan, Hist, of Georgian Church. . 

192 L ives of the Saints. pec. 15. 

renounce the communion of Athanasius. Vincent of Capua, 
who had represented Pope Sylvester at Nicaea, unhappily- 
yielded, in the vain hope of obtaining peace by sacrificing 
one man. Liberius wrote to Hosius of Cordova : *' I had 
hoped much from Vincent. Yet he has not only gained 
nothing, but has himself been led into dissimulation." 
There was then at Rome the Sardinian bishop, Lucifer of 
Cagliari, a man of extreme sturdiness and vehemence, who, 
at his own request, was sent to ask the emperor for another 
council which should proceed on the basis of the Nicene 
faith. Liberius recommended him to the good offices of 
Eusebius of Vercelli, a man whom he knew to be " kindled 
with the Spirit of God." He wrote Eusebius a second letter 
after the departure of Lucifer, to urge him most earnestly to 
contend for the faith, and for the absent Athanasius, whom 
the Arians were bent upon condemning against all law. 

Eusebius received Lucifer with great cordiality, and wrote 
a reply to Liberius, which drew forth from the Pope a third 
letter to encourage him in demanding the assembling of a 
new council. The council was summoned, and met early 
in 355 at Milan, where Dionysius the metropolitan and 
his people were Catholic. About three hundred Western 
bishops were present; of Easterns only a small number. 
The emperor Constantius was present, to awe the assembly 
into submission. Foreseeing how the council would end, 
Eusebius of Vercelli hesitated to attend, and the council 
deputed two bishops with a letter to him, requesting his 
presence, and recommending him to place confidence in 
the assembly, and to keep the bond of unity unbroken. 
But this exhortation was saddled with the threat that if he 
did not yield he should be ]vr\rc'.A \>.^ *^,tm, Athanasius 
was designated in this letter, r ' ^ etic, but as sacri- 

legious. This epistle was signe . . !^ bishops, amongst 

whom were Valens of Mursa, j ; * Singidon, Epic- 

Dec. 15.] 

S. Eusebius. 193 

tetus of Centumcellse, Leontius of Antioch, Acacius of 
Caesaxea, and Patrophilus of Scythopolis, all declared Arians. 
The emperor also wrote to Eusebius, describing affairs as 
settled by the council, and needing only his subscription. 
Lucifer and the two other papal legates, Pancratius and 
Hilary, also wrote to Eusebius, bidding him resist the 
artifices of the Arians. 

Eusebius went to Milan, but found himself for ten days 
denied entrance to the church where the council was sitting. 
He was admitted only when the Arian prelates thought their 
plan ripe for execution. A condemnation of S. Athanasius 
was produced, and his subscription was demanded. Euse- 
bius refused. He declared that he was not satisfied that all 
present were spund in the faith, and qualified to sit as 
judges, and he said that he would not sign till all had 
solemnly signed the Nicene symbol. Dionysius of Milan at 
once prepared to attach his name to the creed, but Valens 
of Mursa snatched the pen from his hand. A tumult arose, 
in which the people of Milan took part, and the Arian 
bishops, fearing the rabble, passed from the church to the 
palace. Constantius took his place as president in a hall 
of his palace, which was surrounded by his guards. He 
declared that he had received a command in a vision to 
declare the faith and appease the strife, and he produced a 
document which was couched in the form of an Arian 
symbol of faith. This document was carried by the bishops 
to the ^urch and read aloud to the people; they roared 
forth their disapproval of its statements. It was not pressed 
further, but every nerve was strained to obtain the condem- 
nation of Athanasius. " I am the accuser of Athanasius," 
said the emperor; "believe on my word that the accusa- 
tions made against, him are well founded." Eusebius and 
Lucifer replied that Athanasius could not be condemned 
without hearing his exculpation. 

VOL. XII. o 

194 ^ ^'^^^ ^f ^^^ Saints. [d^c. ,5. 

The emperor was angry ; he insisted on their communi- 
cating with the Arian bishops. " That," said they, " is against 
the rule of the Church." 

" My will is the rule," said Constantius. " Obey, or I 
will exile you." 

Lucifer, Dionysius, and Eusebius raised their hands to 
heaven and boldly declared that the empire belonged not to 
him but to God, Who could deprive him of it when He* 
willed. And they entreated him not to corrupt the disci- 
pline of the Church by introducing the element of imperial 
force into its decisions. Constantius drew his sword on 
the daring prelates, and ordered them to execution. But 
changing his mind, he commuted their sentence to banish- 
ment. But before the bishops were reriioved, the deacon 
Hilary, legate of the Pope, was stripped and scourged 
before their faces. 

Dionysius of Milan, Lucifer of Cagliari, Eusebius of Ver- 
celli, Paulinus of Treves, Exuperantius of Tortona, Maximus 
of Naples, and a bishop named Rufinian, stood finri, but 
many were cowed into submission. 

Dionysius was banished into Cappadocia, Rufinian was 
compelled by the young Arian prelate, Epicetus of Centum- 
cellae, to run before his chariot, until he died by bursting a 
blood-vessel. Lucifer was kept in a dark dungeon at Ger- 
manicia ; and Eusebius was sent to Scythopolis, the see of 
Patrophilus, an old Arian. In the council Dionysius had 
been sufficiently weak to concede the point of condemning 
Athanasius, but he would not join in communion with the 
Arian s. He had attached his signature to the condemnation, 
when Eusebius, with dexterity, smudged it out. 

At Scythopolis Eusebius was visited by the deacon Syrus 
and the exorcist Victorinus, bringing him letters and pre- 
sents from his church. This so enraged the Arians, that 
they removed him with brutal violence to another prison. 

Dec. 15.] 

S. Eusebius. 195 

drawing him, half naked, along the ground by the feet. He 
was dragged up and down a stair, bruising him. The 
bishop forbade admission to him. This drew forth a written 
remonstrance from Eusebius, which he found means of pass- 
ing out of his prison. He implored the person who found 
his protest not to destroy it, but to give it circulation. 

After Patrophilus had kept him shut up four days without 
Tood, he sent him back to his former prison, from which he 
had no authority for removing him. The Catholics hastened 
to give him food and money. The latter he distributed 
among the poor. After twenty-five days the Arian bishop 
sent his men, they broke into his cell, armed with cudgels, 
beat him, and carried him off to the house of a priest named 
Tegrinus, where he was locked up, along with some priests 
and deacons who had been with him. These latter Patro- 
philus banished on his own authority, and he gave up their 
houses to the rabble to be pillaged. In the house of Teg- 
rinus, Eusebius was kept for six days without food, and only 
given something to eat when near his last gasp. 

The deacon Syrus had not been arrested with the rest, as 
he had gone on to the holy places to visit them. On his 
return, Eusebius committed to him a letter describing the 
persecutions he endured. Eusebius was afterwards placed 
in the house of the count Joseph, a converted Jew (July 22), 
and was there visited by S. Epiphanius. He was after a 
while removed into Cappadocia, and then to the Thebaid. 
When the purple fell on the shoulders of Julian, the exiled 
bishops were recalled, and then Eusebius was permitted to 
go back to his church, a.d. 362. But on his .way he remained 
at Alexandria to attend a council summoned to settle a 
schism that was troubling Antioch, and the reconciliation 
of the bishops who had signed the decrees of the council of 
Rimini, and repented of having done so. And, lastly, the 
synod was assembled to meet a new heresy which threatened, 

1 96 Lives of the Saints. pjec 15. 

on the nature of the Incarnation. The council drew up a 
synodal letter, which Eusebius, Athanasius, and fourteen 
African bishops signed. Eusebius added to his signature 
the statement, that " the Son of God assumed all (our 
nature) except sin." 

Eusebius was commissioned to carry this letter to Antioch. 
But before the decree could reach Antioch, Lucifer had 
taken, in conjunction with two other bishops, the unhappy 
step of consecrating Paulinus to that see, in order to gratify 
his strong sympathy with the Eustatians. An account of the 
miserable schism has already been given (S. Meletius, Feb- 
ruary 1 2), and need not be gone into at any length here. 
Eusebius, finding that the precipitate action of Lucifer had 
made the schism worse instead of healing it, remonstrated 
with Lucifer, who with that violence and impatience which 
characterized the man throughout his career, and made him, 
in spite of his real goodness, a source of mischief, at once 
broke off communion with Eusebius, with the Alexandrian 
Church, and with all who counselled moderation. Hence 
arose the sect of the Luciferians, headed after the death of 
Lucffer by that Hilary who had been a delegate of Liberius 
at Milan, and reproducing in great measure the hard austerity 
of the Novatians and the Donatists. 

The counsels of Alexandria were adopted by the vast 
majority of the faithful. Eusebius visited various Eastern 
churches before he returned to Italy, and in Italy he found 
S. Hilary of Poitiers ready to co-operate with him. Rufinus 
says that he played the part of a healer of strife and of a priest, 
and that he and S. Hilary were as glorious lights irradiating 
Illyricum, Italy, and Gaul. 

In 3^4, the emperor Valentinian came to Milan. S. Hilary 
of Poitiei^ and S. Eusebius of Vercelli were still there, up- 
holding the Catholic cause against Auxentius, the bishop, 
who was siispected of Arianism, and keeping the faithful 

Dec. 15.] 

S. Valerian. ' 197 

apart from his communion. The emperor, who was a 
Catholic, was also naturally impatient of religious dissen- 
sions, and did not choose to worship in a conventicle, while 
the actual bishop professed himself to be really orthodox. 
He therefore put forth an edict that no one should disturb 
the Church of Milan. This, as Hilary said, was indeed to 
disturb it ; and he denounced Auxentius as, in fact, an Arian. 
Valentinian ordered a trial ; Auxentius professed his belief in 
Christ's true consubstantial Godhead. Being ordered to 
make a written statement, he obeyed, and insisted on the 
authority of the council of Rimini, accused Hilary and 
Eusebius as contentious men who had been deposed, and 
spoke of the Son in words which might either mean that He 
was " a true Son," or " a true God." Valentinian was satis- 
fied ; Hilary protested that Auxentius was a trickster, but the 
emperor, weary of the controversy, ordered him to leave 

Nothing further is heard of S. Eusebius. He most likely 
retired to Vercelli, which had certainly been deprived of his 
episcopal supervision for some time ; and there he probably 
died, about 374. 

(A.D. 457.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : — Victor of Utica, i. 12.] 

Genseric, the Vandal king of North Africa, in his perse- 
cution of the Catholics, sent a deputy named Proculus into 
the province of Zeugitana, to force the bishops to surrender 
their sacred vessels and books. The bishops refused to give 
them up, and the emissary seized on all the church orna- 
ments he could find, and made shirts of the altar linen. 

Valerian, bishop of Abbenza, an old man of over eighty 

igS ' Lives of the Saints. [Dec. is. 

years, having refused to deliver up the vessels of his church, 
was driven out of his city, and everyone was forbidden to re- 
ceive him. He was thus left, almost naked, exposed for 
long to the sun, and obliged to obtain food where he could, 
without being able to lodge under any roof. 


(a.d. 520.) 

[Roman, Galilean, and Benedictine Marty rologies. Authorities : — 
A Life by an anonymous writer, ancient, probably of 7th cent. Another 
Life, metrical, by Bertoald, monk of Miscy, circ. A.D. 840. Both in 
Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. ssec. i.] 

The abbey of Miscy, or Mici, near Orleans, was founded 
by Euspicius, archdeacon of Verdun, to whom Clovis granted 
the land. Euspicius took with him to the new foundation 
his nephew, Maximinus, who had two brothers, saints — Vino, 
bishop of Verdun, and Lupus, bishop of Troyes. Maximinus 
was ordained deacon by Eusebius, bishop of Orleans, and 
on the death of his uncle succeeded him as abbot of Miscy. 
He was then ordained priest by Eusebius. 

There was a very fine umbrageous tree, under which the 
abbot loved to sit, at the end of a walk. A steward of Bishop 
Eusebius, out of spite, cut the tree down, and was punished 
for doing so by losing his sight. Perhaps the story, as origi- 
nally told, ran that the steward cut down the tree, blinded by 
his rage against the abbot, and this in time developed into a 
marvel. Maximinus is said to have destroyed a huge serpent 
near the Loire, which infected the people of the neighbour- 
hood with its poisonous breath. This is a picturesque way 
of saying that he destroyed a huge serpentine temple of 
Druid worship, like that of Carnac, which was still regarded 
with superstitious reverence. 

Maximinus is called in French Mesniin. 

Dec. z6.] 

6*5*. Virgins. 199 

December 16. 

SS. Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, CC» at Babylon ; circ. b.c. 

SS. Valentine, Concordius, and Others, MM. at Ravenna ; 

circ. a.d. 303. 
SS. Virgins, MAf. in Africa; a.d. 482. 
S. Ado, B. of Vienne in Gaul; a.d. 874. 
S. Bean, B. of Mortlack in Scotland; a.d. zois. 

(a.d. 482.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : — Victor of Utica, De Pers. Van- 

N the persecution of the Catholics by the Arian 
Vandal king, Huneric, many consecrated virgins 
suffered. They were hung up with weights at- 
tached to their feet, so that an intense strain at 
the sockets of their arms caused them acute anguish, under 
which they fainted. Others were burned with heated plates 
of metal. 

(a.d. 874.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Authority : — Notices collected 
by Mabillon in his Acta SS. O.S.B. saec. iv. 2.] 

S. Ado was of honourable family. He was brought up in 
the abbey of Ferriferes, near Sens, under the abbot Lupus 
Servatus. He took the religious habit, and after some years 

200 Lives of the Saints. ^ec. x6. 

went to Prum, in the Eifel, where Markward, formerly monk 
of Ferriferes, was abbot. 

The brethren were jealous of him, and, on the death of 
Markward, turned him out of the monastery. He then went 
to Rome, stayed five years there, and moved after that to 
Ravenna, where he found a copy of the old Roman Martyr- 
ology, which had been sent to Aquileja. This he copied and 
added to, and the Mart3rrology he published now goes by his 
name. He also compiled a chronicle. He then went to 
Lyons, and the bishop made him take charge of the church 
of S. Romanus, near Vienne. When the see of Vienne fell 
vacant in 860, Ado was elected, and in the following year 
received the pall from Pope Nicolas I. 

Lothair II., king of Lorraine, second son of the Emperor 
Lothair, had married Theutberga, daughter of Boso, count of 
Burgundy. Soon after his marriage he dismissed her from 
his court, through disinclination, or a former attachment. 
Popular feeling obliged him to restore her for a while to con- 
jugal honours ; but he could not endure the yoke. He had 
fallen in love with Waldrada, niece of the archbishop of 
Treves. He lived in open concubinage with her, but he was 
impatient to seat her beside him on the throne as his legiti- 
mate wife. 

He accused Theutberga, before his lords and great vassals 
in court assembled, of having been guilty of incest with her 
brother, Hubert, abbot of S. Maurice, a churchman of pro- 
fligate character, who lived in oriental luxury, surrounded by' 
a bevy of beautiful dancing-girls.^ This most revolting 
charge was made more loathsome by minute circumstances, 
contradictory and impossible. On this charge the obsequious 
nobility, with the consent of the clergy, urged on by Gunther, 
archbishop of Cologne, to whom the king, it is said, had 
promised to marry his niece, summoned the unhappy queen 

1 Ep. Benedict! III. 857 ; and Hincmar, De Divortio Hlotharii et Theutbergae. 

Dec. x6.3 

5*. Ado. 20 1 

to stand her trial. She demanded the ordeal of hot water ; 
her champion passed through unhurt. She was restored as 
innocent to her position, but could not regain her husband's 
affections, nor command even outward respect. 

Gunther now (says the Chronicle of Regino) offered to 
manage the matter for the king, if he would promise to many 
his niece. Theotgand, archbishop of Treves, according to 
some accounts an uncle of Waldrada, was anxious to see the 
union with his niece legitimatized, and a synod was assem- 
bled in' the palace of Lothair, in January, 860, at Aix-la- 
Chapelle. Adventius of Metz, Franko of Tongern, and 
some abbots attended. Theutberga was brought before this 
packed assembly, and by threats or fraud a confession was 
wrung from the weary woman that " she had a fault on her 
conscience, but that it was involuntary. She had been 
forced to commit it, and she asked to be allowed to take 
the veil." 

Another synod was assembled in February at Aix-la- 
Chapelle, before which the wretched wife was brought to 
confess that she had been guilty of incest. She was con- 
demned to an ecclesiastical penance, and to the seclusion of 
a convent. But she fled to Charles the Bald, who had 
taken her brother Hubert under his protection, and given 
him the abbey of S. Martin of Tours. And Charles the 
Bald took up her cause with vigour. He had a reason for 
doing so. Theutberga was childless. Waldrada had already 
borne children to Lothair. If marriage with his concubine 
were permitted to Lothair, Charles would be debarred the 
hope of inheriting Lorraine, should Lothair die without legiti- 
mate offspring. Charles at once sent S. Ado of Vienne to the 
Pope to plead the cause of Theutberga. In 862 another synod 
assembled at Aix, in which the king asked to be allowed to 
marry Waldrada. He was deeply distressed at the crime 
of his wife. For his part, he had lived with women from 

202 Lives of the Saints. [Dec.i6, 

childhood, he might even say from infancy, and he assured 
the bishops that if he was not given a wife, he should not 
remain without at least one concubine. It was a confession 
much like that of Philip of Hesse to Luther, Melanchthon, 
and Bucer. The reformers allowed the landgrave two wives 
simultaneously.^ The bishops at Aix sanctioned the re- 
marriage of the king, on the ground that he was entirely cut 
off from Theutberga. Two bishops in that assembly refused 
their sanction. Their names have, unfortunately, not been 
preserved. After the council had separated, Lothair sent 
for the niece of Gunther, outraged her, sent her back with 
contempt, and married Waldrada.* 

By order of Pope Nicolas I. a synod was convoked to 
meet at Metz to decide the matter. It assembled on 
February 5, 863. The papal legates were bribed by Lothair, 
and the council ratified the decrees of the synods of Aix. 
With this decree in their hands, the two archbishops 
Gunther and Theotgand were so imprudent as to proceed, 
in person as the king's ambassadors to Rome. They rushed 
blindly into the net, and that net closed round them. 
Nicolas summoned a synod and issued an edict, addressed 
to Hincmar of Rheims and Wanilo of Rouen. The Pope 
condemned the guilt of King Lothair, and Gunther and 
Theotgand as the abettors and accomplices in his guilt. 
He annulled the acts of the synod of Metz, which he 
designated " a brothel of adulterers," and excommunicated 
and deposed Gunther and Theotgand. Ado of Vienne 
was, commissioned, as legate of the Roman see, to bear 
these letters into France. 

* The concession of two wives was signed by Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, Cor- 

vinus, Adam F ^ Lening, Justus Winther, and Melander. Wittenberg, "Die 

Mercurti post Fest. S. Nicolai, 1539." 

3 The accounts are not clear. According to one account Waldrada was sister of 
Gunther. But the story of the king playing on the ambition of both archbishops by 
promising each to marry his niece if his marriage with Theutberga were dissolved^ is 
not improbable, and explains several difficulties. 

Dec. z6.] 

S. Bean. 203 

We need not follow further the sad and disgraceful story 
of Theutberga, as Ado has no further connection with it. 
He spent the rest of his life in restoring discipline in his own 
diocese, and died on December 16, 874. 


(about A.D. IOI2.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Dempster's Scottish Menology. Irish Kalen- 

FoRDUN, in his Scotichronicon, says that S. Bean, first 
bishop of Mortlach, in Banff, was made bishop by Pope 
Benedict VIII. Near Mortlach is shown his dwelling. 
Another S. Bean, bishop, is commemorated on October 26. 
The Breviary of Aberdeen gives no details of his life. He 
is probably the same as S. Beoan of Tamlacht-Menan, and 
is not to be confounded with S. Bean of Mortlach. The 
Roman Martyrology has made a mistake about the bishop 
of Mortlach, in placing him at Aberdeen and in Ireland. 

204 Lives of the Saints. ^^^^ ,7. 

December 17. 

S. Lazarus, B.M. of Marseilles. 

S. Olympias, W. at Constantinople ; circ. a.d. 4x0. 

S. Beggha, W. Ahss. at Andenne on the Meuse; 7th cent. 

SS. Florian, Calinicus, and Comp., MM. at Eleutheropolis in 

Palestifie; Ztkcent. 
S. Sturmi, Ab. at Fulda in Hesse; a.d. 779. 
S. William Longsword, Duke M. at Rouen; a.d. 943. 


[Roman and Gallican Mart3rrologies. Usuardus, " Lazarus whom 
the Lord Jesus is said in the Gospel to have raised from the dead." 
The Roman Mart., "At Marseilles^ S. Lazarus, bishop, who, according 
to the Gospel, was raised from the dead by the Lord."] 

CCORDING to the popular fable, which rests on 
no foundation of historical evidence, Lazarus, 
whom Christ raised from the dead, came with 
his sisters Martha and Mary Magdalen to Mar- 
seilles, where Lazarus became first bishop of the see, and 
suffered martyrdom. The story of the wonderful voyage 
has already been given in the account of S. Martha (July 
29). The fable of the visit of Lazarus, Martha, and the 
Magdalen to Marseilles rests, probably, on a curious con- 
fusion of traditions. Martis, the Phoenician goddess of the 
moon, and special patroness of sailors, was no doubt anci- 
ently venerated at Massilia or Marseilles, and Magdalen is 
Maguelonne, the great lake, either taking its name from, or 
giving its name to, the ancient episcopal city of Maguelonne, 
near Montpellier. The old church is now in the midst of a 

Dec. 17.] 

S. Lazarus. 205 

marsh. According to legend, the three Maries, among them 
the Magdalen, lie at Les Saintes in the Camargue at the 
mouth of the Rhone. The name Maguelonne comes from 
Magh and lun, Ion, or lann, and means a dwelling in a field. 
Mone,in his "Celtische Forschungen," renders it "Feldheim." 
The name occurs again in the Saintonge.^ 

It is possible that the town of Maguelonne may have been 
represented as a female ; we know that the beautiful Mague- 
lonne appears in the mediaeval romance of Pierre de 
Provence as a native ojf this region, and the heroines of the 
romances of the Middle Ages are often ancient divinities 
re-clothed and given local habitation. At all events the 
beautiful Maguelonne was a favourite mediaeval heroine 
associated with Provence, and may have originated the 
story of the Magdalen visiting that district. When once it 
was believed that Martha and Mary Magdalen had arrived 
in Provence, it was natural to conjecture that they had 
brought with them their brother Lazarus. Three salt lakes 
or meres have been transformed into three saints at the 
mouth of the Rhone — les trots Manes— esich. mar, mer, or 
mere having become a Mary; and therefore it is not im- 
possible that an ancient town may have resolved itself into 
the Magdalen. 

The first bishop of Marseilles known to history is Orestius, 
A.D. 314, and it is possible that there was a Lalzarus, bishop 
before him, but no evidence has been produced to substan- 
tiate the assertion that this bishop was the same as the 
Lazarus raised by Christ, or that he suffered martyrdom. 

The relics, principally a skull, are in the cathedral of 

* lu " Gesta Abbatum Fontanellensium," the abbot Benignus gives to the monas- 
tery, among other places, ** capitalonum et magalonum quae sunt in pago Sanc- 
tonico," in the fourth year of King Hildebert. 

2o6 Lives of the Saints. ^ec. 17. 


(about A.D. 410.) 

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on July 24 and 25. Authorities :' 
— The letters of S. John Chrysostom to her, and the Life of S. Chrysos- 
tom by Falladius. ] 

S. Olympias was bom about 368, and left an orphan 
under the care of Procopius, apparently her uncle. She was 
brought up by Theodosia, sister of S. Amphilochius. At 
an early age she married Nebridius, treasurer of Theodosius 
the Great, and sometime praefect of Constantinople ; but he 
died twenty days after the marriage. The emperor then 
pressed Olympias to marry Elpidius, a noble Spaniard, his 
near relation ; but she declined the honour, having made up 
her mind to remain single for the rest of her days. She put 
her fortune in the hands of the praefect of Constantinople, 
and asked him to act as her guardian till she had reached 
the age of thirty. She thenceforth led an ascetic life, fasting 
and keeping vigils, and denying herself the use of a bath, 
under the impression that dirtiness, not cleanliness, was next 
to godliness. Her alms were most abundant, and S. Chry- 
sostom had to urge her to greater moderation in the bestowal 
of her bounties. From not eating sufficient nourishing food 
she destroyed her health and suffered painful disorders for 
many years. She was ordained deaconess by Nectarius, 
patriarch of Constantinople, and she made a vow of per- 
petual celibacy. S. John Chrysostom, when he was raised 
to the see of Constantinople, held her in high esteem, and 
she was one of the last persons to whom he said farewell 
when he went to his place of exile in 404. After his de- 
parture, she had to suffer persecution along with the rest of 
his party. She was summoned before the praefect, Optatus, 

Dec. 17.] 

5. Beggha. 207 

who was a heathen, and she assured him that she would not 
►communicate with Arsacius, who had been intruded into the 
see of S. John. 

In the spring of 405, Arsacius forced her to leave the 
city, but she was recalled at midsummer and fined. Her 
goods were sold by public auction, her clothes torn off her 
by the soldiers, and her farms plundered by the mob. Her 
servants, who had long groaned under the life she had led, 
and which they regarded as unbecoming her rank, now found 
courage to tell her their mind to her face. 

Atticus, the successor of Arsacius, dispersed the commu- 
nity of nuns she governed. She had still, however, ample 
means, and she sent money and provisions and medicines to 
Chrysostom in his place of banishment. 

She was alive in 408, when Palladius wrote his Dialogue 
on the Life of S. John Chrysostom, but she did not probably 
live much longer. 


(.7TH CENT.) 

[Gallican and Belgian Martyrologies. Authority : — Mention in the 
Life of S. Gertrude of Nivelles.] 

S* Beggha, son of Pepin, mayor of the palace of Aus- 
trasia, was the sister of S. Gertrude. She was married to 
Ansigis, and on his death by violence, she went to Rome, 
and after having received the benediction of the Pope, 
returned to her native country laden with relics. She founded 
a convent at Andenne on the Meuse. She took the veil 
there, and died toward the end of the seventh century. 
Some think that she was the foundress of the Order of 
the Beguines, which survives in Flanders and Brabant. 

2o8 Lives of the Saints. bcc. x7. 

(a.d. 779.) 

[Roman and Benedictine and German Martyrologies. Authority : — 
A Life by his disciple Eigil, abbot of Fulda, between 818 and 822 ; in 
Pertz, Mon. ii. p. 365. Also in Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. saec. iii. 2.] 

When S. Boniface entered Bavaria, in order to bring the 
clergy there to obedience and subjection to the Roman see, 
he was given Sturmi, a youth of noble birth, by his parents, 
to be educated in the monastic life. Boniface left the boy 
at Fritzlar in Hesse, under the care of S. Wigbert, the 
abbot, and he was there ordained priest. Three years later, 
with the consent of S. Boniface, he and two companions 
retired for solitude to Hersfeld, then situated in the heart 
of a forest, "where nothing was visible but earth and sky 
and huge trees." Sturmi did not, however, approve of the 
spot, and he told S. Boniface that it was open to several 
objections. S. Boniface, in his explorations of the neigh- 
bourhood of the rivers Fulda and Haune, kept his disciple 
in memory, and sent for him. Sturmi came to him at 
Fritzlar, and Boniface told him that he thought he had dis- 
covered the most delightful spot possible for the foundation 
of a monastery ; he described it to him as situated where 
the Luder enters the river Fulda. On his return to Hers- 
feld, Sturmi had his ass saddled, and mounting, rode in the 
direction indicated. He travelled among mountains and 
hills and valleys, springs and torrents, and at night sur- 
rounded himself and his ass with a;, hedge of stakes, as a 
protection against wild beasts. He pushed on through 
forest and hilly country till one day he broke suddenly out 
of the wood upon the road from Mainz into Thuringia, just 
where it crosses the river Fulda by a ford. There, to his 

Dec. 17.] S. Sturmu 


dismay^ he saw a swarm of Slavonians bathing in the river. 
The sight of their naked bodies, "and their smell," ^ filled 
him with terror. The naked bathers, amused at the her- 
mit's consternation, capered round him, and by their inter- 
preter asked whither he was going. He replied that > he 
was exploring the head of the river. 

The spot where this meeting took place was where now 
stands the Frauenbrucke at Fulda. 

The good-natured barbarians let the hermit go his way, 
and they went theirs. Sturmi looked about him, and found 
a place near the main road, but somewhat back from it, 
where the Gdsela enters the Fulda, above where the path 
from Lauterbach falls into the high road — ^a path which the 
biographer of Sturmi calls the Ortessueca, apparently from 
its meandering character over an unpopulated district. It 
was evening when he found the place where he intended to 
camp. The darkness set in swiftly, and he stood listening 
in anxiety to hear if any Slav or wolf were ranging near. 
Then he heard a sound issue from a hollow tree.^ Was a 
man or a beast stirring within ? With his hatchet he rapped 
against the trunk, and a man emerged, who told Sturmi that 
he was the servant of a master named Ork at Wet.tereibe, 
and was taking a horse to his master. The man told him 
that the place where they were spending the night was called 
Eichloch, and next morning he went on his way to Gers- 

* It is curious to remark even in the eighth century the antipathy of the German 
for the Slav> manifesting itself in a belief that the latter is naturally endowed with an 
ill savour, which even water will not remove. But the barbarous Slavs on this 
occasion set a good example of bathing, which it would have been well if ctrta a 
ascetic saints had followed. The odour of sanctity would not have been removed 
from them by an ablution. 

' "Audit procul sonitum aquae, quod utrum fera an homo fecisset, ij^norabat. 
Stans silenter, intentis auribus auscultabat : audit iterum sonitum aqua:. Tunc, 
quia vir Dei clamare noluit, cavam ferro quod manu ferebat pulsavit arborem, intel- 
ligens hominem esse, nutu Del" 


2 1 o L ives of the Saints . [Dec. 17. 

1-1 - ^ ~ — . ■ ■ 

Sturmi decided on fixing his habitation where the Grezi- 
t)ach falls into the Fulda. He then went back to Hersfeld, 
and thence to S. Boniface, who promised to obtain for him 
and his little community a grant of the land from Carloman. 
In the ninth year after Sturmi had retired into the wilderness 
he settled at Eichloch. But those who lived in the neigh* 
bourhood resented the presence of the monks, and they 
retired to Chrichlar till the grant came from the king. 
Then he founded what was thenceforth to be called the 
monastery of Fulda, in the " hollow of oaks," A.D. 744. 

The monastery grew, and was often visited by S. Boniface, 
who delighted in retiring to it for study, rest, and devotion. 
A mountain which he loved to climb, and on which to pray 
and read in quiet, bears to this day the name of the 

Sturmi paid a visit to Rome, and spent a year there to 
become thoroughly imbued with the monastic spirit, and to 
learn the way in which the rule of S. Benedict was observed 
in the monastery of his Order there. On his way home he 
fell ill at Kitzingen, and was laid up there for a month. 
When he was well, he went to S, Boniface, and saw him for 
the last time before that great archbishop went to his mar- 
tyrdom in Frisia. After the death of Boniface, the body 
was brought to Fulda, and there buried. 

S. LuUus, archbishop of Mainz after S. Boniface, was 
jealous of the fame of Sturmi, and plotted with two discon- 
tented monks of Fulda to work the ruin of the abbot An 
order was obtained from Pepin for the banishment of 
Sturmi ; and the abbot of Fulda was sent for two years to 
an abbey called by his biographer Unnedica, perhaps a 
monastery in Venice. Lullus then got the abbey given him 
by Pepin, Eigil says by bribes, and appointed a certain 
Mark to govern it as prior. This led to discord. The 
monks would not acknowledge him, and turned him bodily 

Dec. 17.3 

6*. Sturntu 211 

out of the abbey. The enraged monks moreover resolved 
to leave the monastery, and go altogether to Pepin and ask 
for their abbot back again. LuUus, afraid of the scandal, 
endeavoured to compromise matters by letting the monks 
choose their own prior. They elected Preszold, who had 
been brought up from childhood by Sturmi. 

But Preszold and some of the monks went to Pepin, and 
wrung from him a recall of their beloved superior. Sturmi 
was received by his spiritual sons with the utmost joy. In 
the wars of Charlemagne against the Saxons, the monastery 
of Fulda ran great risks. Charlemagne chastised the rebel- 
lious Saxons with relentless cruelty, and when they were 
completely crushed he sent Sturmi and other Christian 
preachers among them to turn them to Christ. The Saxons 
sullenly allowed their idols and temples to be destroyed, 
and themselves to be baptized, waiting an auspicious moment 
when the conqueror would be elsewhere engaged, and they 
could rise again, shake off his hated yoke and the religion 
they despised, and reassert their native freedom and liberty 
of conscience. Charles remained for some time encamped 
in their midst. He planted his royal residence at Pader- 
bom. But when he was called away to cross the Pyrenees 
and drive back the Moors, the Saxons again rose ; and the 
bones of S. Boniface had to be removed from Fulda lest 
they should suffer profanation. Charles returned in 778 and 
defeated the Saxons again. He sent for Sturmi to recom- 
mence the work of conversion, but the abbot was ill. Charles 
despatched to his relief his court physician, named Wintar, 
who gave Sturmi a dose intended to cure him, but which 
precipitated his end. He was not the only man, no doubt, 
killed by doctors, but he is the only saint who suffered 
martyrdom under the hands of the faculty* When he felt 
himself dying, he had all the bells of the abbey rung, and 
the monks assembled to receive his blessing. He died 

212 L ives of the Saints. (Dec. x^, 

forgiving his enemies^ including S. Lullus, archbishop of 
Mainz, and the bungling doctor who had dosed him to 


(A.D. 943.) 

[Gallican Mart3rrologies, Venerated on this day at Rouen. Au- 
thorities r—Dudo of S. Quentin (1002), William of Jumi^es (1137), 
Wace (i 171)9 "Chronique des Dues de Norm.," and "Le Roman de 

William Longsword was the son of Rollo^ duke of 
Normandy, by his mistress Papia. William married the 
daughter of Robert, count of Vermandois. He succeeded 
RoUo on the death of the latter in 931. William possessed 
none of the great qualities of hb father. He had been 
educated by the priests, and was more attached to a mo- 
nastic life — though not to its morals — than a military career. 
The Normans, who prized personal courage as the highest 
of virtues, despised the pacific temper of William, and they 
reproached him with being more French than Norman, on 
account of the partiality he showed to his wife's countrymen. 
This imprudent prince gradually excluded the old warriors 
of his father from the ducal councils, replacing them by 
Frenchmen, and the Norman barons began to apprehend 
that he would despoil them of their lands and privileges. 
Rioulf, earl of the Cotentin, loudly expressed his displeasure, 
and became the leader of a formidable party. The confe- 
derates mutually guaranteed to each other the secure posses*" 
sion of their properties, and insisted on the duke giving 
them possession of all the country between the' Seine and 
the Rille, as a protection against his encroachments. This 
demand William refused, and the confederates took up arms, 
crossed the Seine, and marched to Rouen, The. feeble mind 

Dec. 17.] ^- William Longsword. 2 1 3 


of William was alarmed at this movement, and^e consented 
to yield the land between the rivers, but Rioulf, still more 
emboldened, insisted on his retiring with his wife to Verman- 
dois, and threatened in the event of his refusal to take 
Rouen by storm. 

The courage of S. William now entirely forsook him ; his 
popularity was sunk to the lowest ebb, and he was abandoned 
by all his barons, except three staunch friends of his father, 
Hanlet, Bernard, and Boto. Boto openly reproved him for 
his cowardice, and Bernard told him that if he did not 
defend his inheritance with the sword, he would make a 
V03rage to Norway, and return with a chief worthy of ruling 
the Normans. At these reproaches the slumbering fire of 
his ancestors was kindled into flame ; accompanied by his 
three faithful barons and three hundred horsemen, William 
sallied forth from the gates of his capital, surprised the 
rebels, who had calculated too securely on the cowardice of 
their duke, and utterly routed them. 

Immediately after this victory, William received intelli- 
gence that his mistress, Sprota, whom he had sent to Fe- 
camp during the siege of Rouen, had been delivered of a 
son, who was afterwards Duke Riq^ard I. These two 
events occurred in 933. 

When Charles the Simple was expett^ from the throne of 
France, the sceptre was seized by Raoul, duke of Burgundy. 
The usurper died without issue, leaving a brother, Hugh, 
count of Paris, the most powerful baron of the realm, and 
called Hugh the Great, on account of the extent of his 
possessions. He might easily have seized the vacant throne, 
but knowing the difficulty of retaining it in those turbulent 
times, he contented himself with securing the peaceable 
possession of Burgundy. During the captivity of Charles 
the Simple, his queen had sought refuge in England with 
their young son Louis, known in history by the title of 

214 Lives of the Saints. [Dcci7. 

** Outremer." This child, then sixteen years old, Hugh 
determined to proclaim king of France, and he despatched 
the archbishop of Sens to London, to prevail on the queen 
to return with the youthful Louis ; and this, after some hesi- 
tation, she did, though entertaining great fears that treachery 
was meditated against the last living scion of the Carolin- 
^ian race. She was, however, inspired with confidence by 
the promises of the duke of Normandy, who offered his 
protection, agreeing to do homage to Louis, as Rqllo had 
done to his father ; and she was still more encouraged by 
the pardon he extended to her friend Alain, then a refugee 
in England, to whom he generously restored the earldom 
of Nantes, which had been confiscated on account of the 
rebellion of the count. 

William Longsword met the queen and her son at Bou- 
logne, where they landed, and he then took the oath of 
fealty along with several of the French barons. 

The authority of the young king, thus placed on the 
throne by an exclusive party, and unsupported by the 
national will, was but little respected. He was soon em- 
broiled with his principal barons, who razed his castles and 
conspired against his crown. 

Hugh of Burgundy gave him but doubtful assistance, hus- 
banding his resources to retain Burgundy, and seeking to 
act as umpire between the sovereign and the discontented 
nobles. Louis applied for aid to Otho, emperor of Germany, 
who refused to interfere, unless with the approbation of 
William Longsword. On which the king of France went to 
Rouen, and, after some interviews, a triple alliance was con- 
cluded between the three princes. Shortly after this trans- 
action, the duke of Normandy stood godfather to the son df 
Louis, born at Laon, in 941, who was named Lothair. 

When William returned to Rouen he was received by his 
subjects with the loudest demonstrations of joy. The im- 

Dec 17.] "S*. Williani Longsword. 215 

pressions of his early education soon rose again in his mind, 
now unoccupied with foreign war or civil commotion. He 
rebuilt the abbey of Jumi^ges, and expressed a wish to pass 
the remainder of his days in that sacred asylum, ready, if only 
the privilege might be accorded him of spending the rest of 
his days in ease from the burden of state affairs, to separate 
himself from his wife, for whom he did not care, and from his 
tnistress, to whom he was devoted. The abbot resolutely re- 
fused his request ; he doubted, perhaps, the rigid abstention 
of the duke, as monk, from all commerce with Sprota ; and 
William would neither eat nor drink, and fell dangerously ill 
from exhaustion. When reduced to this st^te, William sum- 
moned his most attached barons, and repeated his desire to 
be allowed to receive the cowl in the abbey of Jumibges- 
The barons, however, firmly objected ; but, at his request, 
they acknowledged his bastard, Richard, as his successor, and 
swore homage and fealty to the young prince. 

We now come to those events which led to the death, or, 
as the martyrologists call it, the martyrdom, of this heroic 
and pure-living saint. 

Herloin, the second of that name. Earl of Ponthieu and 
Montreuil, was brother-in-law of the duke of Normandy, by 
his marriage with Alice of Vermandois. Amulf, the first earl 
of Flanders, was the bitter enemy of Herloin, and had seized 
the castle of Montreuil in Picardy, near the river Canche, 
about eight miles from Boulogne. Unable to recover this 
fortress from his too powerful adversary with his own forces, 
Herloin applied for aid to Hugh, count of Paris, who was his 
over-lord. It was refused, Amulf being the friend of Hugh, 
who, however, told Herloin that he would not take oflfence 
if he obtained assistance from another quarter. He then 
bought to interest the king of France in his favour, but with 
like unsuccess. Thus disappointed, he next solicited the pro- 
tection of the duke of Normandy, who, compassionating his 


2 1 6 Lives of the Saints. p>ec. ,7 

misfortunes, summoned his barons, and prepared to lay siege 
to Montreuil. 

The Flemings made every preparation to resist the army 
of William, but the contest was short and decisive. The 
duke harangued his soldiers, and assigned to the Cotentinois 
the post of honour, and personally led them to the assault* 
Eager to merit the praise of their sovereign, they rushed on 
the enemy with irresistible impetuosity, and quickly obtained 
possession of the town and castle. William generously 
offered to restore Montreuil without any indemnification, but 
Herloin begged him to retain it for himself, saying that he 
was too feeble to defend it with his own troops. The Nor* 
man duke, however, insisted on giving back the place, and 
promised again to assist his friend, should the Flemings 
venture to attack him. He then returned to Normandy, and 
repeated his wish to become a monk, and pass the remainder 
of his days at Jumifeges ; but his barons still refused their 

The count of Flanders nursed his revenge against William 
for having aided Herloin in the recovery of the castle of 
Montreuil ; but being aware that he could not prevail by an 
appeal to arms, he contrived a scheme for his assassination. 
Amulf sent deputies to Rouen to solicit a treaty of peace, 
and requested the duke to meet him at Amiens, there to 
settle the terms, pretending that he was unable to travel on 
account of the gout. To these overtures the unsuspicious 
William consented, and repaired to the appointed place. On 
his arrival at Amiens he received a message from the per- 
fidious Arnulf, stating that he was at Pequigny, a small town 
on the river Somme. In the middle of this river there is a 
small island, and thither the treacherous Fleming decoyed 
the confiding Norman. The duke landed on it, accompanied 
by twelve attendants. He was received with every semblance 
of esteem by the count of Flanders, who personally begged a 

Dec. 17.) S. William Longtward. 217 

treaty of perpetual peace, which William granted. He then 
made the most solemn protestations of fidelity, and took his 

William was about to embark in another boat, when one 
of the conspirators ran down to the shore, and, pretending 
that he had some important intelligence to communicate 
privately, induced the duke to return alone. No sooner was 
he separated from his companions than the assassins rushed 
on their victim, and clove his head in twain, and the duke 
sank dead on the ground, without uttering a word. 

Alain and Berengar of Brittany, who had accompanied 
William on this fatal journey, saw the murder perpetrated 
from the bank of the river, where they were awaiting the 
duke's return. The murderers escaped to the opposite shore, 
and fled ; but the body of the prince was recovered, taken to 
Rouen, and buried in the cathedral. 

The assassination took place, according to Dudo of S. 
Quentin, on December 20, 943, but, according to William of 
Jumifeges, on December 17, and according to the second 
epitaph on the duke's tomb, on December 18. As De- 
cember 17 is the day on which he is commemorated at 
Rouen, it is probable that this was the exact date of the 

William Longsword reigned twenty-five years. In person 
he was tall and robust. His countenance was remarkable for 
mildness of expression — in less courtier-like terms, for feeble- 
ness. Disliking a military career, he yet showed courage 
when forced to draw the sword. His piety was sincere, it 
his morals were not irreproachable. He kept his promises 
with inviolable fidelity, excepting his marriage vow.* 

* Duncan, "The Dukes of Normandy," London, 2839. 

iiS Lives of the Saints, [ 

December i8. 

The Expectation of the Confinement of Our Lady. 

SS. RuPirs AND ZosiMUS, MM, ai Philippi in Macedon ^ circ. 

A.D. Z07. 

SS. QuiNTUS, SiMPLicius, AND OTHERS, MM, in Africa; cine, 

A.-D. 35t. 

S. MoYSBS, M, in Africa ; yd cent. 

S. Gatian, B. of Tours; ctrc. a.d. 301. 

S. AuxENTius, B, of Mopsutstia; beginmng of ^h cent* 

S. Bodagisl, C. at Metz; a.d. 588. 

S. Flavitas, H, ai Sens; a.d. 620. 

S. Flannan, B. ofKildare; jth cent. 



[Spanish, Gallican, Cistercian, Dominican, Franciscan, and Car- 
melite Mart3rrologies.] 

ijN several churches of France and Spain, and 
in certain monastic Orders, on December 18 is 
begun the commemoration of the " Expectation 
of the Confinement of Our Lady," which con- 
tinues till Christinas. This festival was ordered by the loth 
council of Toledo, in 654, in the time of King Rechas- 
winth, because the feast of the Annunciation falls generally 
in Lent, when the Church is engaged on other solemnities, 
and cannot celebrate that mystery with the application it 
deserves. S. Ildefons confirmed the decree. The day 
often goes by the name in France of " Notre-Dame de TO," 
because on it begins the antiphon, " O Sapientia," the first 
of the eight Greater Antiphons, all beginning with O. 

Dec. 18.] SS\ Rufu^ and Zosimus. 219 


(about a.d. 107.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus. Authority : — The Epistle of S. 
-Polycarp to the Philippians.] 

S. Polycarp, in his Epistle to the Philippians, mentions 
Rufus arid Zosimus, two martyrs among them, whose example 
he bids them recall, but he gives no details. With them he 
joins S. Ignatius, though he was not sure that he was already 
martyred. . 


(end of 3RD CENT.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus. Authority : — A letter of S. Cor- 
nelius of Rome, in Eusebius, H. £. vi. 43 ; and £p. 16 of S. Cyprian.] 

S. Cornelius, in his letter to Fabius of Antioch about 
Novatus, says that the heretic was excommunicated by 
" Moyses, the blessed witness who but lately endured a 
glorious and wonderful martyrdom, and who, whilst yet 
among the living, seeing the audacity and folly of the man, 
excluded him from communion." 


(about A.D. 301.) 

[Roman and Galilean Martyrologies. Usuardus. Authority :-"S. 
Gregory of Tours, in his " History of the Franks,*' lib, x. c. 41 ; and 
De Mirac. lib. i. c. 48.] 

S. Gregory of Tours tells us that S. Gatian was sent to 
Gaul, and established his see at Tours, when Pope S. Fabian 

2 20 Lives of the Saints. pec. xs. 


sat in the chair of S. Peter, i.e, between 236 and 250. But 
this did not satisfy the ambition of the Touraingeois. If 
Bourges, Saintes, Toulouse, Verdun, and other sees could 
claim as their founders saints consecrated and commis- 
sioned by the hands of the Prince of the Apostles himself, 
why not Tours also? Accordingly a legend was fabri- 
cated which gave S. Gatian a like date and spiritual com- 
mission. As, however, he is said to have founded several 
material churches, and consecrated a cemetery for the 
Christians outside of Tours, the date of his mission is pro- 
bably not so early as the pontificate of Fabian. The year 
301 is the earliest that can be assigned for his death. It 
is more probable that he immediately preceded S. Lidorius, 
who occupied the see of Tours before S. Martin, and whose 
accession was between 337 and 340. 


(A.D. 588.) 

[Venerated at Metz on this day. Authorities : — Venantius Fortunatus, 
a contemporary, lib, vii. Carm. 5 ; Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc, lib, 
viii. c, 22.] 

BoDAGisL, who is supposed to have been the father of 
S. Amoald, bishop of Metz, was a noble at the court of Aus- 
trasia. S. Fortunatus of Poitiers praises his great charity, 
his gentleness, justice, and integrity in the government of 
the provinces confided to him. He governed Marseilles, 
Swabia, and Bavaria, He married S. Oda, of Swabian 
family; and resided with her at Lay near Nancy. After 
a while, by mutual consent, he and Oda separated, and 
he retired into the wilds near Hiliriacum, and built a 
monastery which took the name of Saint-Martin-aux-Ch^nes, 

Dec. x8.] 

*y. Flannan. 221 

or of Glandiferes, and since of Longueville-lfes-Saint- Avoid. 
He was accompanied into his retreat by Dignus and Udo, 
two nobles who endowed the new monastery. S. Oda 
founded the monastery of Hamage near Huy on the 
Meuse. Bodagisl died in 588, and was buried in the 
church of his monastery. He is often called Amoald, but 
must be distinguished from the other Amoald, presumed 
to be his son. 


(7TH CENT.) 

[Irish Martyrologies on Aug. 28 or Dec. 1 8. Authority : — A Life, 
late, and of no great authority. Written after a.d, 1162.] 

S. Flannan, son of King Turlough of Thomond, was first 
bishop of Killaloe, at the close of the seventh or the begin- 
ning of the eighth century. Killaloe was endowed with 
ample revenues by the father of the saint. He is said to 
have sailed to Rome from Ireland on a stone instead of a 
ship. When three of Turlough's sons had been killed by 
his enemies, he implored S. Colman to bless him and his 
descendants. Colman took seven strides, and then said, 
" Seven kings shall rise from you who shall rule Ireland." 
And so it was, for after Turlough came Brian, then his son 
Donatus O'Brian, then Brian, then Merchterdiach O'Brian, 
and all the rest Brians, so called ; says the writer, " as the 
Romans call their emperors Caesar, and the Greeks Basileus, 
and the Babylonians Admural, so were they all called 

Flannan was sent to grind com in the mill one night. 
The steward forgot to give him a light; after a while he 
sent a boy to see if he did not want one. The lad peeped 

332 Lives of the Saints. idsc. .s. 

through the keyhole, and saw Flannan grinding by the 
light of his own hands, from each finger of which shot 
flames. A stork flew at the boy, pecked out and gulped 
down his eye. Flannan, on hearing his howl of pain, ran to 
the door, made the stork disgorge the eyeball, and put it in 
its place again. 

Dec. 19.] 

5*. Nemesion. 223 


December 19. 

S. Nemesion, M» at A lexandria y circ, a.d* 350. 

S. Prothasia, V. M. at Senlis ; circ. a.d. 287. 

SS. Dariu$, Zosimus, Paul, and Sbcundus, MM, at Nieaa,, 

SS. Meuris and Thea, MM. at Gaza; circ, a.d. 305. 

S. Gregory, B. of Aiixerre ; circ. a.d, S3a 

S. Samthana, Absi. of Clonebrcne in Longford i ^thcent^ 

(about a.d, 250.) 

[Koman Martyrblogy. Ado, Usuardus, &c. Authority : — The Letter 
of S. Dionysius of Alexandria on the persecution in his diocese, in 
Eusebius, H. E. vi. 41.] 

CERTAIN Nemesion," said Dionysius, bishop 
of Alexandria, in his letter to Fabius of Antioch, 
"an Egyptian, was accused at first of being a 
companion of thieves ; but when he had repelled 
this charge before the centurion as a calumny, devoid of 
truth, he was charged with being a Christian, and was 
brought as a prisoner before the governor. He, a most un* 
righteous judge, inflicted a punishment more than double 
that awarded to robbers, both scourges and tortures, and 
then committed him to the flames between thieves, thus 
honouring the blessed martyr after the example of Christ." 

224 Lives of the Saints. pec ao. 

December 20. 

SS. Ammon, Zbno, anq Othkrs, MM. at Alexandria; circ. 

A-D. 250. 

S. Philogonius, B. ofAnUoch; a«i>. 333* 

SS. EuGBNius AND Macakius, PP, MM, m Arabia i a.d. 363* 

S. Dominic, B, 0/ Bresfimi circ. a,d. (oa 

S. Dominic Sylos» S^am ; a.d. X073. 

B. Julia dblla Rbna, j(, l» 7i$sca^y; a.d, 1369. 


(about a,d. 250.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, &c. Authority : — S. "Dionysius of 
Alexandria in his letter to Fabius of Antipch, in Eusebius, H. £• vi. 41.] 

N the persecution of Decius, at Alexandriay there 
was a band of soldiers standing round the tribunal 
of the governor who was trying and sentencing 
the Christians. One unhappy man's constancy 
gave way before the tortures which were preparing, and he 
showed signs of yielding and denying his faith. Some of 
the soldiers who were Christians — ^Ammon, Zeno, Ptolemy, 
Ingenius, and an old soldier named Theophilus— could not 
control their distress, and made signs to him to stand firm. 
When the judge asked about them, they burst into the ring, 
and proclaimed themselves Christians. 

' " The governor and his associates were greatly intimi* 
dated, whilst those who were condemned were most cheerful 
at the prospect of what they were to suffer. These, there- 
fore, retired from the tribunals, and rejoiced in their tes- 
timony, in which God had enabled them to triumph 

Dec. 20.3 '^- Philogonius. 225 


(A.D. 323.) 

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on same day. Authority : — 
A panegyric on his festival by S. John Chrysostom. ] 

S. Philogonius was brought up to the law, and made 
himself a name for eloquence and for strict integrity. On 
the death of Vitalis, bishop of An tioch, in 318, Philogonius 
was chosen to be his successor. When S. Alexander of 
Alexandria condemned Arius for his heretical doctrine, he 
communicated the judgment to Philogonius ; and when Arius 
went into Palestine in 320, he found, as he admits in a 
letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, that Philogonius was much 
opposed to him. Philogonius met with trouble under 
Maximinus and Licinius. S. Athanasius reckons him among 
some of the chief bishops of his day, and S. John Chry- 
sostom extols him as a pattern of Christian greatness and 


226 L ives of the Saints. [Dec. 21. 

December 21. 

S. Thomas, Ap. M. in India ; xsi cent. 

S.'Themistocles, M. in Lycia ; circ. a.d. 249. 

S. Glycerius, P.m. at Nicomedia; a.d. 303. 

S. Severinus, B. of Trives ; ^th cent. 

S. Anastasius, B.M. o/Antiochin Syria; a.d. 609. 



[Roman and all Western Martyrologies. By the Greeks on Oct. 6 ; 
the Christians of S. Thomas in India on July i. The Greek Menseas, 
published by Chifletus and Sirmondi, on June 20, ** The Translation 
to Constantinople of the Tunic of S. Thomas," and those of certain 
other apostles. The Marble Kalendar of Naples (9th cent.) on Sept. 18, 
and again on Dec. 21, the Commemoration of S. Thomas the Apostle. 
The Passion of S. Thomas by all the Greek Menaeas and Meno- 
logies, including that of the Emperor Basil, and that of Constantinople 
(8th cent.) on Oct. 6. In the Mart, of Bede, Dec. 21, is "Natalis S. 
Thomae ; " but in that of Usuardus, ** In Mesopotamiae civitate Edessa 
translatio corporis S. Thomae apostoli, qui translatus est ab India, 
cujus passio ibidem celebrata v. non. Julii " (July 3). . So also Wan- 
delbert, "Translati Thomae celebrat duodenus honorem, Aurea quo 
structore Dei cognoscere regnum India promeruit, signis comitata tre- 
mendis." According to the so-called Martyrology of Jerome, the Trans- 
lation of relics, on July 3, and the ** Natalis " on Dec. 21. In the Greek 
Church there is a commemoration of S. Thomas on the first Sunday 
after Easter. On Dec. 21, at S. Denis, near Paris, the special vene- 
ration of the hand of S. Thomas. In Milan anciently on May 9, the 
commemoration of S. Thomas, S.John, and S. Andrew.] 

HE name "Thomas " means a twin, is so translated 
in Johnxi. i6, xxi. 2, and is the same as the Greek 
Didymus. This apostle is said by Eusebius 
to have been the same as Judas, in which case 
he was twin brother of S. James, and one of the Lord's 
" brethren.'* The Syriac Acts call him Judas Thomas, or 

Dec. 21.] 

5. Thomas. 227 

Judas the Twin. But it is more probable that Judas is the 
same as Thaddeus. According to another account the 
apostle Thomas had a twin sister named Lydia. It is pos- 
sible that his name may have been Judas, as well as that 
of two other apostles, and that he was generally designated 
as the Twin for the purpose of distinction. 

In the catalogues of the Apostles he is coupled with 
Matthew, in Matt. x. 3, Mark iii. 18, and Luke vi. 15 ; but 
with Philip, in Acts i. 13. 

The Gospel of S. John is the only one which gives us 
much information concerning him. When our Lord spoke 
to His disciples of the dangers and death that awaited him 
in Judaea, Thomas said to his fellow-disciples, " Let us also 
go, that we may die with him.'' During the Last Supper, 
" Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou 
goest, and how can we know the way ? *' He was absent 
when Christ appeared after the Resurrection to His apostles ; 
the others told him what they had seen. He broke forth 
into an expression of scepticism ; the terms of his exclama- 
tion, however, show us what a strong impression had been 
made on his imagination by the sight of the dead body of 
Christ as he had seen it prepared for entombment. On the 
evening of Low Sunday he was with the rest of the apostles, 
when Jesus stood in the midst, and turning to Thomas bade 
him reach forth his hand and thrust it into His side, and put 
his fingers in the print of the nails. The effect on Thomas 
was immediate. The conviction produced by the removal 
of his doubt became deeper and stronger than that of any 
of the other apostles. The words in which he expressed his 
belief contain a far higher assertion of his Master's Divine 
nature than is contained in any other expression used by 
apostolic lips, "My Lord and my God." We only hear 
twice again in the New Testament of Thomas : once on the 
Sea of Galilee with the seven disciples, where he is ranked 

2 28 L ives of the Saints. ^^^ „ , 

next after Peter, and again in the assemblage of the apostles 
after the Ascension. Eusebius says that Thomas sent Thad- 
deus to Edessa, and went himself into Parthia. Sophronius, 
quoted by S. Jerome, says that he planted the standard of 
the Cross among Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, 
and other neighbouring nations. 

The later Greeks make him the apostle of India, following 
the apocryphal Acts. 

According to these Acts, he was appointed to India by 
the casting of lots. Then he said, " I have not strength for 
this. I am weak. How can I, a Hebrew, teach the Indians ? " 
But in the night our Lord appeared to him and said, " Fear 
not, Thomas. My grace will be sufficient for thee." But he 
would not be persuaded, and said, " Whither Thou wilt, O 
Lord, but not to India." Whilst he was thus reasoning, a 
merchant of India, whose, name was Habban, came from 
King Gudnaphar, or Gondophorus, in quest of a skilful 
carpenter. And our Lord met him in the street and said 
to him, "Thou wishest to obtain a carpenter. I have a 
slave for sale, well skilled in carpentering," and He indicated 
Thomas, and sold him to the merchant for twenty pieces 
of silver.^ A regular bill of sale was drawn up, and then 
Habban went to Thomas and said to him, " Is this your 
master ? " and he pointed to our Lord. Thomas said, " Yes, 
He is my Master." Then the merchant said, " He has sold 
you to me outright." And Thomas was silent. And in the 
morning he arose and prayed, and entreated his Lord, " As 
Thou wilt, so be it." And he went to Habban, carrying 
with him the twenty pieces of silver, his price, which the 
Lord returned to him. Then Thomas sailed with the mer- 
chant, and came to the city of Sandaruk.^ The next episode 

* It is clear from the Syriac Acts that Thomas is identified with Judas the brother 
of James, and is thus represented as a skilled carpenter, having been brought up in 
the house of Joseph to that trade. Further on our Lord says, *' I am not Judas, but 
the brother of Judas " (»>. Thomas). ' In the Greek Acts Andropolis. 

Dec. 21.] 

S. Thomas. 229 

is very beautiful. When Habban and his slave came to the 
city, they heard the sound of pipes and organs and much 
singing, for it was the wedding festival of the king's daughter. 
And the merchant and Thomas were invited to the feast. 
Thomas would not eat, but he took oil and anointed his 
heart and brow with a cross, and placed a wreath of myrtle 
on his head, and took a reed branch in his hand. Now 
there was present a flute-girl, a Hebrew maiden, and as she 
went round the party in the banquet-hall, she came opposite 
Judas (Thomas), but he would not look at her ; he remained 
with his eyes cast down ; only when she played on her pipes 
he broke forth into a beautiful song : " My Church is the 
daughter of light, and the splendour of the king is hers. 
Her ways are comely and winning, fair and adorned with 
goodly works. Her garments glow as the flowers, and their 
fragrance is sweet. Her king hath crowned her, and He 
feeds all her servants. Truth is on her head, and her feet 
move with joy. Her beautiful mouth is open, and singeth 
songs of praise. The twelve apostles of the Son, and the 
seventy-two, thunder forth His praises in her. Her tongue 
is the veil which the priest lifteth as he entereth the temple. 
Her neck is a flight of stairs builded of the chief architect. 
Her hands point out the place of life, and with her ten 
fingers she opens th6 gate of heaven. Her bridal chamber 
is lighted with lamps and fragrant with the savour of salva- 
tion- A censer stands in the midst, on which smoke the 
grains of hope and faith and charity, gladdening all. Truth 
dwells within, in humility. Her gates are adorned with 
truth ; her groomsmen surround her, and her pure brides- 
maids go before her, uttering praise. The living attend on 
her, looking for the coming of the Bridegroom, when they 
shall be resplendent with His glory, and shall dwell with 
Him in the kingdom that never shall pass away. And they 
shall be in the glory to which the just are gathered ; and 

230 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 21. 

they shall be at the festivity to which some enter ; and they 
shall put on shining garments, and shall be clothed with the 
glory of their Lord. And they shall prais6 the living Father, 
whose majestic light has covered them, and they shall shine 
with the splendour of their Lord, of whose food they have 
partaken, and which never faileth, and have drunk of the 
life which makes those who drink of it long and thirst for 
more ; and have glorified the Father, the Lord of all, and 
the only-begotten Son, who is of Him, and have praised the 
Spirit, His Wisdom." 

" And when he had sung this song," say the Syriac Acts, 
" all who were beside him were looking on him, and saw that 
his aspect was changed; but they could not understand 
what he said, for he spake in Hebrew. Only the flute-girl 
had heard everything, for she was a Hebrew, and she was 
looking at him. And when she left, him and played to 
others, her eyes still sought him, and she loved him as her 
own countryman ; and in his looks he was more beautiful 
than all the rest. And when the flute-girl had finished, she 
sat down before him, and did not turn her eyes from him ; 
but he did not look up, or at any one, but kept his eyes ever 
cast on the ground, waiting till he might retire." 

In the evening our Lord appeared in the bridal chamber, 
and exhorted the king's daughter and her bridegroom to 
mutual continence. And His appearance was so like that 
of Judas (Thomas) that they thought it was the merchant's 
slave who spake to them. But in the morning, when the 
king heard of the impression produced on the hearts of his 
children by the words of the stranger, he was filled with 
rage, and went to the inn where the merchant and his slave 
had spent the night. But they were gone, and they found 
there the weeping flute-girl, ** sitting still and weeping, be- 
cause Judas-Thomas had not taken her with him. But 
when they told her what had happened, she was glad, 

Dec. 31.] 

S. Thomas, 231 

and said, * I have found rest here.* Arid she arose, and 
went to the young people, and dtvelt with them a long 

After a prosperous journey, the merchant and his slave 
reached India, and went to salute King Gudnaphar. " The 
king ordered Judas into his presence, and said to him, 
*What art dost thou practise?* Judas said to him: *I 
am a carpenter and architect.' He saith to him : * What 
art thou skilled to make ? ' Judas saith to him : * In wood 
I make yokes and ploughs, and ox goads, and oars for 
barges and ferry-boats, and masts for ships ; and in hewn 
stone, tombstones and monuments and palaces for kings.' 
The king saith to Judas : * And I want such an artificer. 
Wilt thou build me a palace ? ' Judas saith to him : * I 
will build it and finish it, for I am come to work at building 
and carpentering.' " 

The king showed him the place where he wished his 
palace to be built, and bade the apostle trace its plan on the 
ground. " And Judas took a cane and began to measure ; 
and he left doors towards the east for light, and windows 
towards the west for air ; and he put the bakehouse to the 
south; and the water-pipes for the service of the house to the 
north. The king saith to him : * Verily thou art a good 
artificer,' and he left him a large sum of money, and de- 

During the absence of the king, Thomas spent all the 
money among the poor, and when Gudnaphar returned 
from a distant journey he found his treasure dispersed and 
no palace built. In a rage he ordered Thomas to be cast 
into prison, and that next day he should be flayed alive, 
and then burnt. But the king's brother Gad had died : 
" And when the soul left him, angels took it and bore it to 
heaven, and showed it each place in succession, and asked 
it in which it would like to be. Then, when they came to 

232 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 21. 

the palace which Judas had built for the king, his brother 
saw it, and said to the angels : ^ I beg of you, let me dwell 
in one of the lower chambers of this palace.' The angels 
say to him : ' Thou canst not dwell in this palace, for it is 
that which the Christian hath built for thy brother.' " Then 
the soul of Gad was permitted to return to its body. And 
the prince, the king's brother, rose up, and told King Gud- 
naphar that he had seen in heaven a glorious mansion 
which the carpenter now in prison had built for him. 

Then the king released Thomas, and consented to be bap- 
tized, he and his brother. "And when they had entered into 
the bath-house, Judas went in before them. And our Lord 
appeared unto them, and said to them : * Peace be with you, 
my brethren.' And they heard the voice only, but the form 
they did not see, for they were not as yet baptized. And 
Judas went up, and stood on the edge of the cistern, and 
poured oil on their heads, and said : — * Come, holy name of 
the Messiah ! come, power of grace, which art from on high ! 
come, perfect mercy ! come, exalted gift ! come, sharer of 
the blessing ! come, revealer of hidden mysteries ! come, 
mother of seven houses, whose rest is in the eighth house I 
come, messenger of reconciliation, and communicate with 
the minds of these youths ! come, spirit of holiness, and 
purify their reins and hearts ! ' And he baptized them in 
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit of 
Holiness. And when they had come out of the water, a 
youth appeared holding a lighted taper ; and the light of the 
lamps waxed dull through its light. And when they had 
gone forth, he became invisible to them ; and the apostle 
said : * We were not able to bear Thy light, because it is 
too bright for our vision.' And when it dawned, he broke 
the Eucharist and let them partake of the table of the 
Messiah ; and they were glad and rejoicing." 

The Acts say that S. Thomas suffered under Mazdai, 

Dec. 21.] 

S. Thomas. . 233 

probably a Masdaean prince in Persia; and relate that 
he was stabbed to death on the top of a hill by the soldiers 
of Mazdai. The Christians of S. Thomas in India pretended 
that his body lay at Meliapore, and had a chapel over it. 
John III. of Portugal had this body dug up and transported 
to Goa. Another body was translated to Edessa, and re- 
ceived veneration there in the time of S. Chrysostom. The 
Roman Martyrology says: "At Calamina suffered S. Thomas, 
.... whose relics were first translated to Edessa and 
then to Ortona." As there is no such place as Calamina, at 
all events in India, it is ingeniously suggested that Calamina 
is another name for Meliapore. 

Gudnaphar, or Gondophorus, is not a mythical personage. 
An Aiano Pali inscription has been found at Shahbaz- 
Garhi, in the Yusufzai country, on the Punjaub frontier, 
which is now in the Lahore museum. This inscription bears 
the name of Gudupharasa, with the year of his reign, and 
the name of the month, &c. The date of the inscription is 
Samvat 103, the fourth day of the month Vesakh (equivalent 
to A.D. 46), in the 26th year of the king's reign. The 
inscription itself is simply the record of a votive offering 
by a Buddhist worshipper, and the greater part of it is 
illegible.^ But it seems almost certain that this Gudupharasa 
is the Gudnaphar or Gondophorus of the Acts. 

Relics of the saint are shown at Goa, and at Ortona 
in Apulia. The hand, before the Revolution, in a reliquary 
given by John, duke of Berri, third son of King John of 
France, was shown at Saint Denis. It bore the inscription : 
" Hie est manus beati Thomae, Apostoli, quam misit in latus 
Domini nostri Jesu Christi.*' 

S. Thonias is the patron saint of Portugal and of Parma. 
In the Greek pictures, S. Thomas is young and beardless ; 
in Western art he is usually bearded. He is represented 

' Triibner's " American and Oriental Literary Record," vol. viii. p. 78. 

234 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 21. 

with a spear or an arrow in one hand, and a book of the 
gospels in the other. Frequently, however, instead of the 
spear, he has a builder's rule. 


(a.d. 609.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities : — The letters of S. Gregory the 
Great, and Theophanes.] 

Anastasius II. was patriarch of Antioch, in Syria, after the 
death of Anastasius I., in 599. S. Gregory the Great wrote 
to him in May of that year, on reception of his statement of 
faith, to say that he was well satisfied with it, and to exhort 
him, as the first-fruits of his priesthood, to purge the churches 
under him of simony. Anastasius was killed in a riot of the 
Jews against the Christians, who had been oppressing them, 
and had goaded them to violence. The Jews killed several 
other Christians, whom they regarded as their chief tormen- 
tors, and burned their bodies. Phocas sent Bonosus, count 
of the East, and Cotto, general of the army, to chastise the 
Jews. Massacre, mutilation, and plunder revenged the 
murder of Anastasius. 

6*0 / 


Dec. 22.] S. Isckyrton. 235 

December 22. 

S. IscHYRiON, M. at Alexandria; a.d. 250. 

S. CHiBREMON, B.M. of Nilopolisin Egypt ; a.d. 250. 

SS. XXX. Martyrs at Rome ; a.d. 303. 

S. Zbno, M» at Nicotnedia; a.d. 304. 

S. Flavian, M. at Acquapendente in Italy ; a.d. 380. 

S. Ernan, Mk. of Drumhome in Donegal; a.d. 640. 

S. Felix II., B. of Metz; a.d. 731. 

(a.d. 250.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, &c. Authority : — The letter of 
Dionysius of Alexandria to Fabrus of Antioch, in Eusebius, H. E. lib. 
vi. c. 42.] 

SCHYRION was hired by one of the rulers (of 
Alexandria) in the capacity of steward. " This 
man was ordered by his employer to sacrifice, but 
as he would not obey, he was abused by him. 

Persevering in his purpose, he was treated with indignity ; 

and as he still continued in patient resolution, his employer 

took a long pole and thrust it through his bowels, and thus 

slew him'' (/.<?. by impalement). 

(a.d. 250.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, &c. Authority : — Same as for S. 
Ischyrion, above.] 

a "Why should I mention the multitudes who wandered in 
deserts and mountains," says S. Dionysius in his letter to 

236 L ives of the Saints. p)ec. 23. 

the bishop of Antioch on the persecution that raged in 
Alexandria in the reign of Decius, " why mention those that 
perished by hunger and thirst, by frost and diseases, by 
robbers and wild beasts ? The survivors are the witnesses 
of their election and their victory. But I will add one fact 
in illustration. Chaeremon was a very aged bishop of Nilo- 
pohs. He, fleeing into the Arabian mountains with his 
partner, did not return again, nor were the brethren able to 
learn anything more of him, though search has been made 
for him. They found neither them nor their bodies. But 
many have been carried off as slaves by the barbarous 
Saracens from the same mountains. Some have been ran- 
somed, but others remain among them still, unredeemed." 

(a.d. 380.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : — The Acts of S. Dafrosa and 
her daughters SS. Bibiana and Demetria ; not trustworthy.] 

Flavian is said to have been prefect of Rome under Con- 
stantius. He was deposed by Julian, and his place filled by 
Apronius \ and Julian gave orders that Flavian should be 
forced to do sacrifice. As Flavian refused, Apronius had 
him branded on the brow, like a slave. He then banished 
him to Acquapendente. He was thus parted from his wife 
Dafrosa, and his daughters Bibiana and Demetria. He is 
said to have died whilst praying, at Acquapendentfe. No 
reliance can be placed on the Acts, which are eminently 
unhistorical. Julian would certainly not have had an ex-pre- 
fect branded for refusing to sacrifice. 

Dec. 22.] 

^S*. Ernan. . 237 

(about a.d. 640.) 

[Irish Martyrologies on Jan. i. Dempster's Scottish Menology on 
Jan. 24 and Dec. 22. Adam King's Kalendar on Dec. 22. Aberdeen 
Breviary Kalendar on Dec. 22. David Camerarius on Dec. 21. Au- 
thprity : — Adamnan, in his Life of S. Columba, iii. 23.] 

S. Ernan or Etheraan, called also Ferreolus, was of the 
race of Conall Gulban, and was nephew of S. Columba. 
With his brother Cobtach he became a monk- in Ireland. 
These brothers were among the twelve followers of S. Co- 
lumba when he crossed over from Ireland to the work of 
the conversion of the Scots and Picts. 

After maiiy years Ernan returned to Ireland to the 
monastery of X)rumhome in Donegal, which had been 
founded by S. Columba. Adamnan. had seen Ernan, when 
very old, but speaks of him as having been a strong working 
man at the time of Columba's death. Adamnan mentions 
a vision he had on the night of the death of Columba, in his 
old age. 

This Ernan is not to be confounded with Ernan of Rath- 
mew, in Wicklow, who died in 634, and is commemorated 
on August 18. This latter Ernan was a serving-boy in the 
monastery of Clonmacnois, when S. Columba visited it about 
A.D. 590. Ernan tried to touch the hem of his cloak, when 
S. Columba, perceiving what he was about, took hold of 
him, and drew him before his face. On the bystanders 
observing that he ought not to take notice of such a trouble- 
some boy, he desired them to have patience, and giving his 
blessing to the lad, said to them : " This boy whom you 
despise now will grow up to be gifted with great wisdom 
from God.'* 

238 L ives of the Saints. 

[Dec. 23. 

December 23. 

SS. Thkodulus, Saturninus, and Others, MM. in Crete; cite. 

A.D. 250. 

S. Victoria, V.M. at Rome; a.d. 253. 

SS. MiGDONius, Mardonius, and Others, MM. at Nicomedia; 

A.D. 303. 
S. Servulus, C. at Rome ; circ. a.d. 590. 
S. Mazota, V, inAbemethy; •jthcent. 
S. Ivo, B. qfChartres; a.d. 1115. 
S. Thorlac, B. ofSkalholt; a.d. 1193. 

(A.D. 253.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, Adp, Notker, &c. Authorities : — 
The brief Acts in Ado, and a metrical version of the Acts by S. Ald- 
helm in his book, De Laude Virginitatis. Aldhelm was bom. about 
656, and died in 709.] 

VICTORIA was betrothed to Eugenius, a pagan 
of rank and wealth in Rome. Titus Aurelius, a 
friend of Eugenius, wanted to marry S. Anatolia, 
to whom he was engaged, but she showed such 
repugnance towards the marriage state, that Titus Aurelius 
went to Victoria, and begged her, as she was a Christian like 
Anatolia, to persuade her to be reasonable, and to marry 

Victoria readily consented, and went to Anatolia, and 
said to her ; " Listen to me, my sister : I am a Christian, and 
I know that God does not abhor marriage. The prophets 
and the patriarchs had wives, and God blessed their pos- 
terity. Now listen to me: take your husband;, he is an 
upright man, and will not betray that you are a Christian ;. 

Dec. 23.] 

S, Servulus. 239 

and it is very possible that your connection with him may 
be the means of his conversion." This advice, so exactly 
what S. Paul gave,^ was met with disdain by S. Anatolia. 
" Oh, Victoria !" said she, " conquer the devil, and be indeed 
Victoria. God said> when the world was void. Be fruitful, 
and multiply, and replenish the earth. But now that the 
earth is populated, and the Son of God has proclaimed. 
Increase in faith, multiply in charity, and replenish the 
heavens, carnal unions are vain." 

By these and other words Anatolia persuaded Victoria to 
a life of strict continence. Their bridegrooms carried them 
off to their estates in the country, and would not let them 
eat unless they consented to become their wives. Only 
a little bread was given them in the evening. At last 
the inveterate resolution of Victoria triumphed ; Eugenius 
abandoned her to the magistrates, and she was decapi- 

If there be any truth in these Acts, it shows that a view 
of marriage must have obtained a hold in Rome in the 
middle of the third century which was identical with that 
afterwards developed by Manes. But it is more probable 
that the part referring to the opposition of the virgins to 
their marriage is an invention of a later age. 


(about A.D. 590.) 

[Roman Martyrology. UsuarduSj &c. Authority : — S. Gregory the 
Great, Dialog, lib. iv. c. 14, and Horn. 15, in Evangel.] 

Servulus was a beggar, and had been afflicted with the 
p^lsy from his infancy; so that he was never able to stand, 

* I Cor. vii. 13, 14. 

240 Lives of the Saints. ^Dec. 23. 

sit upright, lift his hand to his mouth, nor turn himself from 
one side to another. His mother and brother carried him 
into the porch of S. Clement's church at Rome, where he 
lived on the alms of those that passed by. Whatever he 
could spare from his own subsistence he distributed among 
other needy persons. He asked those who passed him on 
their way to church to read to him portions of the Scriptures, 
and these he learned by heart. His joy of heart broke out 
in h3anns, which he probably caught from the open door of 
the church, when the choir sang the praises of God. After 
some years spent in suffering, his feeble frame sank. As he 
was dying, he besought the poor and pilgrims to sing by his 
pallet. He lifted up his feeble voice in concert with theirs. 
Suddenly he arrested their song ; " Hush ! " said he, " I 
hear sweet music from heaven !" And he expired. 


(7TH CENT.) 

[Aberdeen Breviary, Dec. 23; Dempster on Dec. 22; and the 
**Elevatio" on Dec. 23. Authority: — The Legend in the Aberdeen 

S. Mazota, or Mayota, was a holy maid living with S. 
Brigit in Ireland, not the great S. Brigit, but another, a con- 
temporary of S. Columba. Graverdus, son of Domath, king 
of the Picts and cousin of S. Brigit, whilst fighting against 
the Britons, was supernaturally warned to send to Ireland for 
S. Brigit. The saint obeyed his summons, and brought with 
her nine virgins, of whom Mazota was one, and settled at 
Abernethy, where she erected a church to the V. Mary, in 
which the king and all his family were baptized. Mazota ioV 
lowed S. Brigit in all holy living, and died at Abernethy. 

Dec 23.] 

S. Ivo. 241 

According to the Aberdeen Breviary, Brigit was the great 
Brigity and S. Patrick himself consecrated her church. But 
this is a mistake. 

(a.d, 1 1 15.) 

[On this day the Gallican Martyrologies. But that of the Regular 
Canons on May 20. Authorities : — His own letters and those of 
Urban II.; also Ordericus Vitalis and other chroniclers of the time. 
There is a Life by Jean Fronteau, canon, of S. Genevieve, and chan- 
cellor of the University of Paris (died 1662) ; but it contains nothing 
that is not to be found in the letters of Ivo, and elsewhere.] 

Ivo, bishop of Chartres, was bom in 1035, of a distin- 
guished family in Beauvais. In his youth he devoted him- 
self to the study of philosophy and literature. He was at one 
time in the abbey of Bee, under the eye and instruction of 
Lanfranc ; and he made great progress both in learning and 
in piety. 

In 1078 he became a regular canon in the monastery 
which Guy, bishop of Beauvais, had just founded in the city 
of Beauvais, in honour of S. Quentin. When Ivo entered it, 
he endowed it with a portion of his patrimony. 

His merit was speedily recognized, and he was appointed 
professor of theology and of the Holy Scriptures. In time, 
he was elected superior of the community, and governed 
it fourteen years. He ruled it with such discretion that 
bishops and princes asked him to send oanons brought up in 
his school, to reform old chapters fallen into laxity, or to 
found new ones. 

Geofl&y, bishop of Chartres, had been deposed by Hugh 
of Die, papal legate, for simony, but was reinstated by the 
Pope, in 1078. In 1081 the legate again deposed him, and 

VOL. XII. ^ R 

242 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 23. 

Geoffry went with his uncle, the bishop of Paris, to Rome to 
complain. Gregory VII. sent for the evidences on which 
he had been deposed, and to the surprise and vexation of 
Hugh of Die, the Pope restored him to his office, when he 
swore on the tomb of the apostles that the charges against 
him .were false. The legate wrote to complain, and, as the 
event proved, with reason. 

In 1 09 1, however, such clear cases of simony, concubi- 
nage, adultery, and perjury were proved against GeofFry that 
Urban II. deposed him not only from the bishopric of Char- 
tres, but from his episcopal orders. Urban then wrote to the 
clergy and people of Chdrtres to elect a bishop of a better 
type, and recommended to them Ivo, provost of S. Quentin, 
at Beauvais. He wrote to Richarius, archbishop of Sens, to 
inform him of what he had done, and to request him to 
favour the election, and consecrate the successor to Geoffry. 
Ivo was elected in conformity to the wishes of the Pope, 
was presented before King Philip of France, and received 
from his hands investiture with staff and ring. Richarius of 
Sens refused to consecrate. The deposition was illegal and 
uncanonical, he argued. The case of the morals of the 
bishop of Chartres ought to have been tried before himself 
as metropolitan. 

Ivo wrote to the Pope, complaining of the burden laid on 
his shoulders, and asserting that he would never have con- 
sented to his election, had not the Church of Chartres assured 
him that it was the wish of his Holiness. He went to Rome 
with the deputies of the Church of Chartres, and Urban con- 
secrated him himself, at the close of November, 1091, and 
sent him back with two letters, one to the people of Char- 
tres, the other to the recalcitrant Richarius. In the latter 
he said : " We have consecrated Ivo, without prejudice to the 
obedience he owes to your Church; and we pray you to 
stifle all resentment, and to receive him with suitable favour, 

Dec. 23.] 

«y. ivo, 243 

and give hitn your assistance in the government of his 

Ivo did not take possession of the see of Chartres till the 
beginning of 1092. 

Richarius, irritated at the conduct of Ivo in having gone 
to Rome and ignored his jurisdiction as primate, wrote him 
a scornful and angry letter, in which he refused him the title 
of a bishop, and charged him with usurpation of a diocese 
already tenanted. Ivo replied, " How can I owe obedience 
to one who sets himself above the Holy See, and attempts to 
destroy what it has built up ? You forget your own reputa- 
tion in attempting to re-establish a goat whose filthy con- 
duct, adulteries, and ill reports are in every man's mouth." 

Archbishop Richarius summoned a council to meet at 
Estampes, by the advice of William, bishop of Paris. Wil- 
liam was brother of Eustace, count of Boulogne, and uncle 
of Godfrey de Bouillon. He was chancellor of King Philip 5 
Geoffry of Chartres was his nephew. Richarius attended 
the council at Estampes with the bishops of Meaux and 
Troyes, who acted with him. In this council the archbishop 
accused Ivo of having obtained his ordination at Rome, in 
prejudice of the royal authority. He demanded the deposi- 
tion of Ivo, and the reinstatement of Geoffry ; but Ivo ap- 
pealed against the archbishop and the council to Rome, re- 
questing the Pope to send a legate into France to bring the 
archbishop of Sens and his suffragans into due and becoming 

A matter of another kind now caused Ivo to fall into dis- 
grace with the king. Bertrada, third wife of Fulk, count of 
Anjou, had succeeded in obtaining the affections of Philip. 
She had, or affected, scruples of surrendering herself to his 
arms unless wedded to him.^ He raked up a relationship 
which subsisted between himself and his queen, Bertha, 

* She was daughter of Simon de Montfort and Agnes of Evreux. 

244 Lives of the Saints. p^ec. 23. 

daughter of the count of Flanders, divorced her, and Bertrada 
found an equally easy means of shaking off her allegiance to 
her husband. The king endeavoured to persuade Ivo to 
consent to their union. Ivo was a noted canonist. He had 
compiled a volume of canons ; and canons, the king thought, 
could be twisted to sanction or discountenance anything that 
was wanted. But Ivo stood on moral grounds, and refused 
to sanction or be present at the proposed marriage. He 
wrote to Reginald, archbishop of Rheims, on the subject, to 
dissuade him from sanctioning the union. The letter Ivo 
wrote to the king is diginfied and to the purpose : " I write 
to you what I said to you to your face, that I will never 
assist at the solemnity of the marriage, without being assured 
first that a general council has approved of your divorce, and 
that you can contract a legitimate marriage with this woman. 
If I had been called to examine this matter in a place where 
I could in security deliberate with the bishops, my brethren, 
on the canons, without the fear of mob interference, I would 
attend willingly, and I would do my best with the others to do 
justice. But now that I am summoned to Paris to meet your 
wife, without knowing if she has any right to that title, my con- 
science towards God and my reputation as a bishop tell me 
that I should prefer a millstone round my neck and a plunge 
into the depths of the sea, to sanctioning such a scandal" 

A Norman or a French bishop ^ was tempted by gratitude 
for actual favours, and by the hope of future advantage, to 
perform the marriage. The king, to mark his resentment at 
the conduct of Ivo, declared that his lands were open to the 
greed of plunderers. Hugh de Puiset, viscount of Chartres, 
took Ivo and put him in irons. Many of the principal 
burgesses of Chartres were for calling out the trained bands 
and the servants of the bishop, and attacking the viscount. 
Ivo from his prison wrote to conjure them to be quiet; his 

* Some authorities say Odo, bishop of Bayeux ; others, the bishop of Senlis. 

Dec. 33.] 

kS. Ivo. 245 

cause was committed to the Pope, who would see justice 

In the year 1094, in September, a council was held at 
Rheims, by order of King Philip, to approve his marriage. 
His wife Bertha was dead. He attended in person, with 
three archbishops — Reginald of Rheims, Richarius of Sens, 
and Raoul of Tours. The bishops present were William of 
Paris, Gautier of Meaux, Hugh of Soissons, Elinaud of Laon, 
Radbod of Noyon, Gervinus of Amiens, Hugh of Senlis, and 
Lambert of Arras. Ivo of Chartres was invited, but would 
not attend ; he knew that it was the purpose of the king or 
his metropolitan to bring accusations against him, and he 
appealed to Rome. In his letter to the council he says : " I 
am accused of perjury, and I have sworn to nobody. I know 
what violence will be used, to what intimidations I shall be 
exposed, and that I shall not be allowed in the assembly to 
speak the truth. No ; because I have been the faithful ser- 
vant of the Holy See, I am accused of perjury and of treason. 
Permit me to say, accusation of treason should rather be 
brought against those who have fomented a sore which needs 
cautery with fire and iron. Had you held firm like me, the 
grievous sore had by this time been healed." 

Gautier, bishop of Meaux, wrote to him to ask whether a 
man might marry his concubine? The letter was a trap. 
Bertrada was the concubine of the king, and the queen was 
dead. Ivo replied that some laws forbade it, and others 
permitted it. But, he added, as for the marriage of the king 
with Bertrada, that must absolutely be forbidden. The case 
was too gross, too notorious to be sanctioned. 

Hugh, archbishop of Lyons, legate of Pope Urban, sum- 
moned a national council at Autun, in October of the same 
year, which ventured to anticipate the sentence which could 
not but be approved and ratified by the Pope. Philip im- 
plored delay, his ambassadors appeared at Piacenza, and 

246 Lives of the Saints. p^^. 23. 

the Pope consented for a time to suspend the sentence. But 
the case was too glaring to escape censure^ and the monarch 
too impotent to demand further delay. In the preliminary 
business of the council of Clermont, despatched with haste, 
hardly noticed, passed the excommunication of the greatest 
sovereign in Christendom, at least in rank, except the em- 
peror and ruler of the very country in which the council sat. 

In 1096, while Pope Urban was at Montpellier, King 
Philip endeavoured to obtain for William, brother of Ber- 
trada, the bishopric of Paris, then vacant. William was 
not of age, and therefore it would require a dispensation 
to appoint him. Ivo, who saw now an opportunity of 
pacifying the king without going against his conscience, 
wrote to Urban in favour of William. He was a clerk at 
Chartres, and gave promise of being virtuous. Accordingly 
the Pope consented, and the youthful William was conse* 
crated by Richarius of Sens, whom Urban allowed for the 
occasion to wear the pall. 

Richarius, archbishop 6i Sens, died in December, 1096, 
and Daimbert, Vidame^ of Sens, was elected as his succes- 
sor. But he remained unconsecrated for fourteen months, 
because Hugh, archbishop of Lyons, pretended that as pri* 
mate he must receive the oath of the new archbishop. The 
clergy of Sens thereupon wrote to S. Ivo of Chartres to re- 
quest him to ordain Daimbert on the ensuing feast of the 
Purification ; but, on the excuse that he could only conse- 
crate at the Ember seasons, he put off complying with their 
request till he had corresponded with the archbishop of 
Lyons. . 

He wrote to Hugh of Lyons a letter expressive of consi- 
derable vexation. The archbishop of Lyons had produced 
papal letters confirming his primacy over Sens. Ivo wrote : 
" As to those orders of the Holy See which relate to faith 

* Vidame is one who holds his fief from a bishop instead of from the king. 

Dec. 23.] 

S. Ivo. 247 

and morals, we will obey them at any cost. But when they 
enjoin us to do things which are indifferent, or to go con- 
trary to the usages of our fathers, which is to be obeyed ? 
Your claim to have primacy over the Church of Sens has 
never been allowed* What if the bishop elect have received 
investiture from the king's hands ? We see in that no cere- 
mony obnoxious to religion. What does it matter if inves- 
titure with the temporalities be made by hand, or a nod of 
the head, or word of mouth, or by gift of crozier? The 
kings make no pretence to confer spiritual power, but only 
to consent to the election, and to give to the elect the lands 
and other goods which the churches have received from 
their liberality. 

" If investitures were forbidden by the eternal law of God^ 
it would not be in the power of superiors to permit them 
in some cases while forbidding them in others. What then 
is the result of these inhibitions to receive investiture? 
Vexation, scandals, discord between the State and the clergy, 
where concord ought to reign. 

" Would that the ministers of the Roman Church ap- 
plied themselves to heal great evils, instead of straining 
out gnats while swallowing camels. A fuss is made about 
trifles, the great scandals and crimes which abound pass 

It is a pity that the clear good sense with which Ivo 
viewed the vexed question of investitures did not prevail 
among others of his and the preceding generation. The only 
result of the inhibition against receiving investiture from lay 
princes issued by Gregory VII. was, he says, that bishops 
and abbots, instead of occupying themselves with the correc- 
tion of manners and morals, were engaged in hunting out 
skilful lawyers and eloquent special pleaders, who could 
get them out of possible censure for having thus received 
investiture ; and the money which might have gone to the 

248 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 23. 

poor, went as bribes into the pockets of lawyers or of those 
about the Pope. 

As might have been expected, this very outspoken letter 
got Ivo into trouble with the Pope. Hugh of Lyons had, 
no doubt, sent it on to Urban, and Urban was highly in- 
censed. Ivo was obliged to write to the Pope in justifica- 
tion. He had re-read the letter, he says, and instead of find- 
ing anything in it against the Roman Church, he thought 
there were in it several things in its favour. " For,*' he 
added, " I had no other intention than of intimating to- 
you through the archbishop the murmurs which I hear on 
all sides, in order that the discontent may be remedied. 
The archbishop, finding in my letter some words he did not 
like about the primacy of the Church of Lyons, has tried to 
inflame your anger against me. But I believe there is none 
on this side of the mountains who has suflfered affronts and 
injustice like me for having been faithful to you, and obeyed 
your orders. But since my words have irritated you, it is 
not forme to oppose you; let me resign my bishopric rather 
than endure your anger, just or unjust. If this satisfaction 
iiill content you, I am content. If you want more, add to 
it. I shall, I doubt not, be more useful to the Church as a 
private individual than as a bishop. For seven years I have 
cultivated my vine as best I could, without gathering fruit 
of it. Set me at liberty in the eighth year. If I may not 
resign by your permission, I shall be forced to take the step 
through the hostility of the king, who has taken to him again 
Bertrada, and through my diocesans, whom neither fear of 
God nor shame of excommunication can force to give up 
the sacrileges they commit in the churches, and to do jus- 

" But whatever may happen to me, I conjure you by the 
love of Christ, if the archbishop of Tours, or one of the 
clergy of Orleans, come to ask you to confirm the young 

Dec. 23.] 

5, Ivo, 249 

man chosen to fill that see — do not consent." He describes 
him as guilty of crimes such as sullied the old heathen 
world. *' Some companions of his debauch have made song9 
about him, which Ucentious youths sing in the streets and 
squares, and which he has actually not blushed to listen to, 
and sing himself. I have sent one of these ballads to the 
archbishop of I-.yons as a specimen. Do not permit him to 
be ordained, if you love your own honour and the welfare of 
the<^hurch. The archbishop of Tours crowned the king at 
Christmas, against the orders of your legate, and has ob- 
tained as a reward the bishopric of Orleans for this young 
man, his favourite." 

This debauched youth was Archdeacon John. He was 
elected on a day of omen, the Feast of the Innocents, 1098, 
a day when in every cathedral church in France hideous 
and blasphemous buffoonery took place, in the midst of 
which a bishop of Fools was chosen. 

Ivo, in an agony of righteous wrath and shame, wrote all 
he had told the Pope to the archbishop of Lyons, recapitu- 
lating what he had said to Urban of the moral character of 
John the archdeacon. He added : " Besides, the abbot of 
Bourgeuil came at Christmas to court with great confidence, 
to receive the bishopric which the pretended queen had 
promised him. But because it was found that the friends 
of Archdeacon John had heavier money-bags, the abbot was 
given the go-by. And when he complained that the king 
had made a fool of him, the king replied, ' Wait till I have 
made my profit out of this one, then get him deposed, and 
I will do what you like.'" 

But Urban was too angry to listen to the remonstrances 
of Ivo of Chartres ; he confirmed the election. John was 
consecrated, and occupied the throne of Orleans for forty 
years, from 1096 to 1136, when he resigned it. 

In 1099 Urban was still angry with S. Ivo for his letter.. ^ 

J - 1 

> J 

> J 

^ I- V. w 

1. C >- ^ 

250 Lives of the Saints. p^c. 23. 

Godfrey, abbot of Vendome, was at Rome in that year, and 
endeavoured to soothe the resentment of the Pope. On his 
way back, he spent five days at Lyons with the archbishop 
Hugh, and learned to his astonishment that Daimbert of 
Sens had made peace with this prelate, had submitted to 
his demands, and had thrown over Ivo of Chartres, and 
repudiated his letters in his behalf. Godfrey, as a friend of 
Ivo, did his best under the circumstances to persuade 
the archbishop of Lyons to renew friendly intercourse 
with Ivo. 

In 1 100 two cardinals, John and Benedict, came as legates 
from Pope Paschal II. into France. John wrote letters to 
S. Ivo full of praise for his having abstained from commu- 
nion with the king, contrary to the example of many of the 
prelates, who had ignored the prohibition of Urban 11. and 
had crowned the king at Pentecost. The legates summoned 
a council to meet at Poitiers on November 18, and Ivo 
attended with eighty bishops and abbots. The scandal of 
the union of Bertrada and Philip was again brought up, and 
the legates declared their intention of renewing the excom- 
munication pronounced against the king at Clermont, five 
years before. William IX., count of Poitiers, the most 
illustrious troubadour of his time,* and other nobles and 
several bishops implored the legates on their knees to defer 
the sentence, but they were inexorable, whereupon the count 
and his followers left the church in which the council was 
being held, with a train of indignant bishops who refused to 
be present when their monarch was excommunicated, and a 
great tumult ensued. The legates rose and pronounced the 
sentence ; then a common man who was in the triforium, 
enraged at the insult offered his sovereign, threw a stone at 
the legates, but missed them and hit a clerk at their side, 

' He had married the daughter of Fulk of Anjou (whose wife Bertrada had been), 
hut he repudiated her, and married again. 

Dec. 33.] 

kS. Ivo. 251 

cutting open his head and prostrating him insensible on the 
pavement. Two abbots, Robert of Arbrissel,' and Bernard 
of S. C)rprian, threw off their cowls and stood defiantly 
forward to receive stones or blows launched at the repre- 
sentatives of the Pope. 

The council passed several canons, one of which was 
levelled against the claim of laymen to present to livings ; 
another was perhaps granted out of consideration for S. Ivo : 
regular canons were permitted to baptize, preach, hear con- 
fessions, and bury the dead, but the exercise of these 
functions was forbidden to monks. 

In iioi, whilst the legates were still in France, Ivo wrote 
to them on the subject of an election which had been made 
to the vacant see of Beauvais. Stephen, son of William de 
Garlande, seneschal of France, had been chosen to it. 
**The Church of Beauvais," wrote Ivo, "is fated to have bad 
pastors, she has elected only disreputable personages for 
some time past. Now she has chosen a clerk not in holy 
orders, ignorant, a gambler, who has been excommunicated 
from the Church for adultery by the archbishop of Lyons, 
legate of the Holy See. I warn you to be on your guard. 
For this intruder will hasten to Rome, or send there, so as 
to gain the Curia by his promises and bribes, and surprise 
the Pope by all sorts of artifices. If this attempt of mine to 
avert a gross scandal should fail, my mouth will be stopped, 
I shall have nothing to answer to those who speak against 
the Roman Church." 

He wrote also to the Pope : " This Stephen is not yet a 
subdeacon ; he is illiterate, a gambler, always running after 
women, excommunicate for adultery." The king and Ber* 
trada favoured him. Stephen went to Rome, and Ivo was 
^ilty on that occasion of the only unworthy act we know 

* S. Robert of Arbri.ssel caused great scandal by his double monastery at Fonte- 
vrault, which proved not so much a nursery of piety as ot babes. See Feb. 25, p. 428 . 

252 Lives of the Saints, -p^c. 23. 

of him. He gave him the usual formal letter of commen- 
dation to the Pope, and united with the Church of Beauvais 
in requesting his Holiness to grant its request, '' so far as 
the justice and honour of the Holy See permit." How far 
compulsion was used to extract this from Ivo we do not 
know. But that he behaved in the matter in a way which 
was not straightforward, we know from what Paschal II. 
answered. The Pope refused Stephen, and with great pro- 
priety wrote to Ivo to remonstrate with him for having thus 
openly recommended one whom he secretly disparaged. 
Ivo replied that he received this report with joy ; he added, 
however, that his second letter was not in contradiction with 
the former, that between the lines PaschaFs sharp eye ought 
to have detected his covert disapproval ; but he said that 
jhe letter was extorted from him by the importunity of 
Stephen: a poor excuse at the best. "Your Holiness's 
letter," he concluded, " has clearly let me see how firm you 
are in the maintenance of justice and in zeal for the house 
of God ; and I have communicated it to nearly all the 
churches in the realm." 

If Ivo had done wrong, he was not ashamed to publish 
the reproof he had received, so greatly did his zeal for the 
Church of God eclipse his care for his own reputation. The 
conduct of Paschal II. in the matter of the bishopric of 
Beauvais was in striking contrast to that of Urban II. in that 
of the bishopric of Orleans, 

Ivo wrote at once to the clergy of Beauvais to choose a 
good pastor, he recommended no one to them by name. 
The person then elected was Walo, abbot of Saint Quentin, 
in Beauvais, the monastery which Ivo had so long ruled. 
Ivo took great interest in the Church of Beauvais, of which 
he was a child, and he wrote thereupon to Manasses, arch- 
bishop of Rheims, to urge him to consecrate Walo before 
the court could interfere, as he knew it purposed doing. 

Dec. 33.] 

5, Ivo. 253 

" You know/' he wrote, " that the eighth council approved 
by the Roman Church forbade kings interfering in the 
election of bishops ; and that the kings of France, Charles 
and Louis, have granted to the Churches free elections, as 
they have declared in their capitularies, and have permitted 
the bishops to decree it in the provincial councils. Do 
not consider malicious whispers about the servile origin of 
Walo, for it was honest even if humble, and no man living 
can prove that it was servile." 

Ivo wrote also to Paschal : " The more sane portion of the 
clergy of Beauvais, at the advice of the nobles and with the 
consent of the people, have elected Walo as their bishop, a 
man of exemplary life, instructed in letters, and in church 
discipline. Some, however, of the party of Stephen who 
had been rejected, and who were bought by him by presents 
of rich furs and other like bribes, have refused their consent, 
though they can bring forward no canonical impediment. 
They have addressed the king, and have told him that Walo 
is my disciple, and that if he becomes bishop he will oppose 
him. The king is, accordingly, prejudiced against him, and 
will not consent to the election, nor surrender the goods of 
the Church which he has retained in his hands during the 
vacancy. The electors would have already appealed to your 
Holiness, had not the Metropolitan held them back, on the 
excuse that he wants to bring them to agreement with the 
other party, but really, I suspect, because he wants to impede 
the matter, according to the wish of the king." 

S. Anselm of Canterbury also wrote to the Pope in favour 
of Walo, having known, whilst at Bee, the sad condition of 
degradation into which the Church of Beauvais had fallen. 

Walo was consecrated in 1 103, but King Louis swore he 
would not permit him to enjoy the revenues of the see, 
and retained them in his own hands. Walo went to Rome, 
and Paschal sent him to Poland as his legate. In the mean- 

254 L ives of the Saints. pec. ni 

time William de Montfort, bishop of Paris, died, and the 
electors could not agree which of two candidates should fill 
his place. One, Fulk, the dean, was a man of advanced 
age. Both parties appealed to Ivo, but he would not inter- 
fere unless he were given a safe conduct from the king, so 
that he might come to Paris and investigate the disputed 
election on the spot. Fulk went to Rome, and when Pas- 
chal saw how incapacitated he was by age for setting a bad 
example, he consecrated him. Fulk died, after having been 
bishop about two years, in April, 1104; whereupon the 
clergy and people of Paris unanimously chose Walo of 
Beauvais. Walo was then at Rome, returned from his 
Polish expedition ; he obtained from the Pope absolution for 
King Louis, on certain conditions, and the king thereupon 
consented to his appointment. Walo on his way to Paris 
met S. Anselm, at Lyons. Paschal sent Richard, cardinal 
bishop of Alba, as his legate into France, to publish the 
absolution of the king ; and he summoned a council to meet 
at Troyes. Ivo wrote to him : " The absolution of the 
king, if it can be effected to the honour of God and of the 
Holy See, will rejoice me as much as his excommunica- 
tion grieved me. If God touches his heart, I am of advice 
that you should give him absolution solemnly, in presence 
of as many bishops as may be collected, so that his conver- 
sion may be as open as his fault. I desire greatly to attend 
the council, but I cannot go to Troyes without permission 
from the king, under whose displeasure I have lain during 
ten years.'* 

He received permission, and attended the council. The 
formal absolution of the king and Bertrada was put off to a 
second council, to be held at Beaugency, on July 30. The 
king and Bertrada attended this, and on his and Bertr,ada's 
swearing on the Gospels to separate and not even to speak 
to one another again, except before witnesses, the legates 

Dec. 33.] 

S. Ivo. 255 

asked the opinion of the bishops present. Ivo at once 
urged his immediate absolution, but several of the bishops 
present objected to it on the conditions imposed. Conse- 
quently no absolution was pronounced, and Louis was irri- 
tated at the delay. 

Paschal then wrote to the bishops of the three provinces of 
Rheims, Sens, and Tours, to meet and absolve the king, 
and in the event of Richard, his legate, having left France, 
he committed the necessary powers to Lambert, bishop of 

A council accordingly assembled at Paris on December 2, 
1104, attended by Daimbert, archbishop of Sens, Raoul of 
Tours, Ivo of Chartres, John of Orleans, Walo of Paris, 
Lambert of Arras, and four others. After the letter of the 
Pope had been read, John of Orleans and Walo of Paris — 
representatives, it would almost seem, of episcopal licence 
and episcopal restraint — ^were sent to the king to request 
him to take the required oath. Louis came barefooted into 
the council, and received absolution. Then, laying his 
hand on the Book of the Gospels, he swore to renounce 
intercourse with Bertrada. She took the same oath, and 
shared his absolution.^ 

Whilst Richard, legate of the Pope, was in France, the 
enemies of S. Ivo took the opportunity of slandering him 
as guilty of simony. 

Ivo replied: "I have always had this crime in horror 
since I was ordained, and since I have been made a bishop 
I have cut it off by every eflfort wherever I met with it. If 
there be some rights which the dean, or precentor, or other 
officers exact from the newly-appointed canons, it is in spite 
of my opposition. They defend themselves by the usage of 
the Roman Church, in which the chamberlains and minis- 
ters of the palace exact various sums from bishops on their 

* The king was then aged fifty-one. 

256 Lives of the Saints. ^ec. as. 

consecration and abbots on their appointment, under pre- 
text of offering or gratuities. It is well known they give 
nothing gratis, down to the pen and paper on which they 
write. And I have no answer to make but the words of the 
Gospel, * All whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe 
and do ; but do not ye after their works/ *' 

Philip I. died on July 29, 1108, at Melun, and was buried 
at S. Benoit, on the Loire. His son Louis was present at 
his death and funeral. Louis had incurred the dislike and 
fear of the nobles, and Ivo of Chartres urged that he should 
be crowned at once, and at his exhortation, Daimbert of 
Sens went to' Orleans with his suffragans, Walo of Paris, 
Manasses of Meaux, John of Orleans, Ivo of Chartres, 
Hugh of Nevers, and Humbold of Auxerre, and crowned 
him on August 2nd, four days after the death of his father. 
Scarcely was the ceremony over when the deputies of the 
Church of Rheims arrived bearing the remonstrance of that 
Church, and a letter from the Pope forbidding it, on the 
grounds that the Church of Rheims claimed the prerogative 
of having the kings of France crowned by it, accorded, it 
was pretended, by Clovis when baptized by S. Remigius. 

To justify the step he had taken, Ivo wrote a circular 
letter to the Roman Church, and to all who had cognizance 
of the complaint of the clergy of Rheims, in which he 
argued that the coronation could not be disputed, by reason, 
custom, or law. Ivo rejected the claim of Rheims, it had 
no evidence to its having any just grounds. Moreover, the 
archbishop then elect was not yet confirmed, and the city of 
Rheims was under an interdict, so that the coronation could 
not have taken place there. 

The Church of Rheims was, indeed, at this time in a 
troubled condition. Archbishop Manasses II. had died in 
1106, whereupon Raoul le Verd, provost of the cathedral, 
had been elected by a party of the clergy and people, 

Dec. 23.] 

S. Ivo, 257 

whilst the other part had chosen Gervaise, the archdeacon; 
son of Hugh, count of Retel, and each party maintained the 
validity of its election. Ivo now urged on King Louis to 
put an end to this confusion, and acting by his advice, 
Gervaise was driven away, and Raoul enthroned. 

The question of Investitures, with which Ivo had dealt so 
sensibly some years before, was one that now convulsed the 
West. A very decided line had been taken by Gregory VII. 
On February 2, iiii, Pope Paschal II. made terms with 
Henry V. of Germany. He granted the right of investiture 
to the king, and surrendered all the possessions and royal- 
ties which the Church had received of the empire and of 
the kingdom of Italy from the days of Charlemagne, Louis 
the Pious, and Henry I. ; all the cities, duchies, marquisates, 
countships, rights of coining money, customs, tolls, advocar 
cies, rights of raising soldiers, courts and castles held of the 
empire. And the king, on his part, while retaining the 
right of investing bishops and abbots with their temporali- 
ties, resigned the vain and unmeaning sign of conveyance 
with ring and crook. 

This treaty carried dismay among the ranks of those who 
had hitherto fought the battle of investitures against the 
crown. The archbishop of Vienne called a council together, 
which met on September 16, 11 12, and which proclaimed 
that " the investiture of bishoprics, abbeys, and other ecclesi- 
astica,l benefices from lay hands is a heresy. We condemn, 
by virtue of the Holy Ghost, the document or privilege 
extorted by King Henry from Pope Paschal ; we declare it 
null and abominable." And the council proceeded to ex- 
communicate and anathematize the king. 

Joceran, archbishop of Lyons, also summoned a council, 
the same year, to meet at Anse, to consult on this matter, 
and invited to it the archbishop of Sens and his suffragans. 
Ivo of Chartres wrote an excuse on their behalf, couched in 

VOL. XII. s 

258 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 23. 

a strangely hesitating tone. "As to the investitures with 
which you propose to deal, it is wiser to be silent ; by speak- 
' ing you will be discovering your father's nakedness. What 
the Pope did, he did under constraint, to prevent the ruin 
of his people, but his will did not consent. This appears from 
what he wrote to some of us when he was out of danger. 
He ordered and forbade then what he had ordered and for- 
bidden before, though at a time of peril he allowed himself 
to subscribe some detestable writings. If the Pope does 
not use deserved severity towards the king of Germany, it 
is 'because, following the judgment of prudent guides, he 

exposes himself to the least of many evils Let us 

veil the disgrace of the priesthood, lest we expose ourselves 
to the mockery of our enemies, and weaken the Church, in 
our attempts to strengthen her. We think ourselves ex- 
cusable if we abstain from rending the Pope, and excuse 
with filial charity what he has accorded to the king of Ger- 
many. We even approve of his conduct. 

" And now, as to what some speak of as the heresy of in- 
vestiture, let it be remembered that heresy is an error in 
faith. Faith and error proceed out of the heart, and this 
investiture which creates such a commotion is a mere manual 
act of giving and taking. Popes have given investiture with 
ring and crook. If it had been a heresy, how could they 
have done that ? 

" But if any layman should be so great a fool as to sup- 
pose that with the pastoral staff he confers a sacrament or 
the effect of a sacrament, that is another matter — him we 
judge heretical, not because of the act, but because of the 
error. If we could give things their proper names, no doubt 
the investiture by laymen is an abuse, which ought to be 
done away with, if possible, without troubling peace ; but 
when it becomes a matter of strife, let it be put off, and let 
us content ourselves with protesting with discretion." 

Dec 23.] 

S. Ivo, 259 

Ivo wrote to Bruno, archbishop of Treves, in the same 
sense, but with more freedom. " The crown and the clergy 
are divided,'' he said ; " let us do what we can to reunite 
them. In the state of peril in which we are, one must not 
be so rigorous, but condescend \ and, as in a storm, throw 
out some of the lading of the boat to save the rest. Charity 
stoops to the feeble, and makes herself all in all. Let not 
private individuals blame the conduct of their pastors if, 
without prejudice to faith and morals, they do and endure 
something that is not absolutely perfect, in order to pre- 
serve the life of their flock." 

Godfrey, abbot of Vendome, wrote in a very different 
spirit to Pope Paschal. He declared that investiture was a 
heresy, and the Pope by permitting it had fallen into heresy. 
He concluded that a lapse in morals was tolerable in a 
chief pastor, but not a lapse in faith. In such a case the 
faithful must rise in judgment against him. 

On the 23rd December, 11 15, Ivo of Chartres died, after 
having governed his Church twenty-three years, and was 
buried at S. Jean en Valine. 

He was a light in a dark age. His firm, pure, and gentle 
character inspire the most profound admiration. A man 
thoroughly conscientious, and not afraid of following the 
dictates of his conscience, he spoke out bluntly what he 
felt was true, and ought to be spoken before kings and 
popes alike, and had to endure the resentment of kings and 
popes for his plain speaking and determined action. He 
was entirely without self-seeking, all he cared for was the 
welfare of the Church. 

He was the author of a Pannormia, a collection of canons, 
and of a larger collection, the Decretum. Twenty-four ser- 
mons of his are extant, and a Chronicle of no great value. 
His Epistles (288 in all) are his most valuable bequest to 
posterity, giving us an invaluable picture of the state of the 

26o Lives of tlie Saints. [Dec. 33. 

Church in France at the time in which he lived, a picture 
by no means pleasant to look upon, it must be admitted. 

One feature of this correspondence is the clear good sense 
which it exhibits. Whether dealing with investitures or with 
matrimonial difficulties, the judgment of Ivo is rarely at fault. 
We have seen so much of his letters relating to the ecclesias- 
tical politics of his time, that we may look at a f(?w of his 
letters on matters of smaller interest. 

Ivo was very determined in setting his face against trial by 
ordeal. Hildebert, bishop of Le Mans, was accused by the 
king of England of having treacherously -surrendered the 
town, and the bishop wrote to ask if he was to submit to 
the ordeal of walking barefoot over red-hot ploughshares to 
prove his innocence. Ivo told him to do no such thing ; such 
ordeal was forbidden by the canons, and was utterly repre- 
hensible. On another occasion he interfered too late. A knight 
wrote to him to state that he had a suspicion that his wife 
had been unfaithful to him (he gave his reasons, which were 
not conclusive), and said that he had made the man whom 
he suspected walk on red-hot irons, and his feet had been 
burned. Supposing, therefore, that the guilt of the parties 
was established, he wished to put away his wife. Ivo told 
him that his reasons and his evidence of guilt were alike 
worthless: he' should not encourage suspicions, but take his 
wife's word of honour, and the testimony of her neighbours 
to her fidelity. 

In several cases of difficulty about marriage, he gave clearly 
the right judgment. He was asked if a daughter promised in 
marriage when a child by her father, was bound to marry the 
person chosen when she grew to years of discretion. " Cer- 
tainly not," answered Ivo. " Nor," he said, in answer to the 
archdeacon of Paris, "is a Jewess who has married a Christian 
free to marry another, nor is her husband freed from the tie, 
even if she relapse into Judaism. Nor can a man who has 

Dec. 23.] 

6^. Ivo. 261 

promised marriage to a girl, and then finds out that she is a 
serf, shake himself free from his engagement. Nor may a 
man who, on his bed of sickness, promised his mistress to 
marry her should he recover, escape from his obligation to 
do so." Hildebert, bishop of Le Mans, had the case brought 
before him of a converted Jewess, who, with her new faith, 
was desirous of taking to her arms a new Christian husband. 
"By no means," ruled Ivo; "she is bound to her Jewish hus- 
band till death parts them." 

His fearless impatience of abuses appears in many of his 
letters. King Louis asked him for a present of costly foreign 
furs. It was the custom of the kings to make these demands, 
and they were always complied with. On another occasion 
the king asked the advancement of a favourite in his church. 
Ivo refused the furs and the stall. He wrote to the Pope that 
it did not answer, sending ultramontane legates into France; 
they stayed too short a time to see what was really wanted, 
and, it was said, spent most of their attention on scraping 
money together by bribes and other disreputable means. 
He forbade relic-hawking priests from preaching. All they 
sought was money and trafficking on the ignorance and credu- 
lity of the people. 

262 Lives of the Sainls. [Dec. 23. 


(A.D. 1 193.) 

[Danish Martyrology published by Olaus Romerus in 1705, on Dec. 
23 ; he died on that day. But in Iceland his chief festival was observed 
on June 29, the day of his election to the bishopric of Skalholt. His 
canonization and the appointment of his festivals were made by popular 
suffrage at the Althing, or parliament of Iceland, in 11 98. Authorities : 
— (i) The elder Thorlaks Saga, written probably in 1198, when he was 
canonized. It is referred to by the Palssaga, written 1216-20. See 
Biskupa Sogur, formkli, xxxiii. -iv. (2) The younger Thorlaks Saga in 
1325. There are also two books of miracles by S. Thorlac ; the first is 
that produced by Bishop Paul at the canonization of S. Thorlac, in 
1 198, collected and written down by him, and read to the Althing; 
with additions added by him and read to the Althing in 1199. The 
second was collected after 1200; mention is made in it of Abbot Thor- 
steinn Turvason, who died in 1224, and Jon Lj6tsson, who died in 1224. 
An appendix to this gives miracles wrought after 1300. (3) Latin 
fragments of Lives of S. Thorlac used in the lessons for his festival in the 
Church of Skalholt, from that of Vallanes, in Fljotsdalr, in the Nidaros 
Breviary, &c. All these Lives and Miracles are printed in Biskupa 
Sogur, Copenh. 1858, t. i. p. 149-212, 261-404. For critical observa- 
tions on their dates, see the Formali.] 

S. Thorlac, the most popular of Icelandic saints, was the 
son of Thorhallr and Halla, and bom in 1133. He was 
educated by Eyjolf the Priest, son of Saemund the Wise, at 
Odda. He ever after held his old master in the highest 
respect, and was wont to quote him as an authority on whom 
he could rely when making a statement which might be called 
in question. Thorlac was ordained deacon by Bishop Mag- 
nus before he was fifteen.^ He was ordained priest by Bishop 
Bjom of Holum,^ when about seventeen or eighteen, and 
then went to study in Paris and at Lincoln. At the latter 
place he no doubt made the acquaintance of S. Hugh, who 
then occupied the see, and the sanctity of that great bishop 

I Magnus Einarsson died in 1148. ^ BjOrn Gilsson^ 1x47-62. 

Dec. 23.] 

S. Thorlac, 263 

must have had its influence on the character and after life of 
the Icelander. He remained six years abroad, and then re- 
turned to his native land, filled with that home-sickness 
which makes the Icelander, however far he may wander, sing, 
" Iceland is the fairest land on which the sun e'er shines,"* 
and not find exaggeration in the sentiment. His contempo- 
rary biographer says that he felt also a great longing to see 
his mother and sisters. On reaching Iceland, " his mother 
clung to him, and followed him wherever he went, and he 
showed the tenderest love to his sisters, Ragneid, the mother 
of Paul, who succeeded Thorlac as bishop, and Eyvor." 
His relations wanted him to take a farm, marry, and settle ; 
and he was also disposed to do this, for indeed, in Iceland, 
priests and bishops were all married. But in the night an 
old man appeared to him as he slept, and said, " You are 
meditating taking to you a wife here, but I have another 
bride in store for you." We may suspect that Thorlac in a 
dream saw Hugh of Lincoln, and that the impression he had 
received in England of clerical celibacy, from the teaching 
and example of that saint, asserted itself in sleep. Thorlac 
abandoned his design, and went to a learned priest named 
Bjarnhedinn,* at Kirkjubae, and spent six years with him. 

A rich farmer at Thykkubse, named Thorkell, was old, and 
had no relations, so he left his land " to Christ as his heir," 
and appointed Thorlac to convert his house into a monastery. ' 
Thorlac went thither in 1168, and was " consecrated abbot 
by Bishop Klsengi." Many placed themselves under his 
direction, and he imposed on them canonical rule. His 
mother Halla went to Thykkubae with her son, and looked 
after the monks as her children, cooked their victuals, and 
mended their clothes. 

Bishop Klaengi of Skalholt was ill, and obtained permis- 

* " Island er hinn bestr land, sam solar skinar up4." 
' Ordained priest 1143, died X173. 

264 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 23. 

sion to have his successor chosen and appointed before 
his death, to look after the temporal affairs of the see. 
Three candidates were presented before the Althing, or 
general parliament of the island, of whom Thorlac was one, 
and he was chosen in 1174 ; and went at once to Skalholt. 

Klsengi lingered on till 11 76, confined to his bed. As 
soon as he was dead, in the summer of 11 77, Thorlac sailed 
to Norway, and was consecrated by Archbishop Eysteinn of 
Nidaros on July i, 11 78. He returned to Iceland directly 
after his consecration, and established himself in his see. 
His ordination had been impeded by Earl Erlingr, who was 
hostile to the Icelanders. 

When first Thorlac woke, he sang aloud the " Credo," the 
"Paternoster," and the hymn, "Jesu nostra redemptio." 
Then he meditated a little on the Incarnation and the Re- 
demption. Whilst dressing, he sang the " Prayer of S. Gre- 
gory," and after that the ist Psalm. When clothed, he went 
to church, and there he sang first the "Gloria Patri," in 
honour of the Holy Trinity; after that "he praised with song 
those holy men to whom the church was dedicated in which 
he then was, and who were the patrons." After that he read 
the Little Office of Our Lady, and then he prostrated himself 
before the altar, and prayed for all Christian people; and 
every day he sang a third of the Psalter. If he were in any 
perplexity, he sang, "Mitte mihi Domine auxilium de 
sancto," and when he left the table after a meal, he sang, 
" Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore." When he went 
to bed, he sang the Psalm, " Lord, who shall dwell in Thy 

S. Thorlac introduced into the Icelandic Church the ob- 
servance of the festivals of S. Ambrose, S. Cecilia, and 
S. Agnes, and the vigils before the -festivals of the apostles. 
He was the first bishop to exercise excommunication in the 
island, at the instigation of Archbishop Eysteinn. He also 

Dec. 33. J 

S. Thorlac. 265 

forbade, the marriage of priests. But it does not appear that 
this command was obeyed, for the priests continued to 
marry till long after his time. He forbade also lay presenta- 
tion to churches, and lay impropriation of ecclesiastical pro- 

Sigurd Ormsson, a wealthy man, built and adorned a 
church at Svinafell, and asked the bishop to consecrate it. 
Thorlac refused, unless he endowed it with a farm, and en- 
tirely abandoned every claim to presentation to it. Sigurd 
refused, and was excommunicated till he submitted. 

John Loptsson, nephew of King Magnus Barefeet, one of 
the most powerful men in Iceland, one also in deacon's 
orders, had the right of patronage to a church at Hofda- 
breckja. The church was destroyed by a storm, and he 
rebuilt it in the most sumptuous manner. Bishop Thorlac 
would not reconsecrate it till John Loptsson had abandoned 
his right of presentation. John Loptsson had as his concu- 
bine Ragneid, the sister of S. Thorlac.^ John refused to 
surrender his right. The church had been endowed and 
founded by his forefathers, and they had always exercised 
their right of presentation ; and he was backed up by all 
the people of position in the island. John charged the 
bishop with the exercise of arbitrary authority and the 
dealing forth of unjust excommunications, to carry out a 
freak of Archbishop Eysteinn. An angry altercation ensued, 
but Thorlac was obliged to give way, and abandon his 
crusade against lay patronage. Indeed, Eysteinn caused 
such hostility to arise against him from the same attempt 
in Norway, that he was obliged to leave Nidaros. 

* " John was a deacon by consecration, and a man of great authority in the 

Church His wife was Halldora Brand's daughter. Their son was Ssemund. 

He was a great woman-lover, and he had many other sons by other women. Paul, 
afterwards bishop, and Orm were his sons by Ragneid, sister of Bishop Thorlac. 
She and John loved one another from childhood. But she had children by many 
men." — Thorldk Saga hinn yngri. 

266 Lives of the Saints. [d^c. 23. 

Thorlac, angry at his defeat, excommunicated John 
Loptsson for adultery. John beset the doors of a church 
into which the bishop wanted to enter, with armed men. 
"Why do you impede my entrance?" asked Thorlac. 
" Because you have forbidden my entrance into the church,'' 
answered Loptsson. " You have excluded yourself by your 
crimes," answered the bishop. *•' And I am not likely to be 
brought to repentance by your violence and maliciousness. 
For God's sake, not constrained by you, I will dismiss your 
sister." ^ He sent her away. 

A priest named Hogni, rich, but of low extraction, had 
two daughters bom in wedlock, one of whom was married, 
the other, named Snselaug, was unwed and at home. She 
gave birth to a daughter, who was called Gunnlaug, and it 
was generally understood that a workman of her father's 
called Gunnar " Cattletyke " was the father. " Hogni, her 
father, was not angry with her for this, nor did he hold her 
in lower esteem than before this affair. It happened that 
Snaelaug was staying at Saurbae, and there a priest named 
Thord, son of Bodvar, fell in love with her ; his mind was 
set on the woman, and he and his father went to Bae and 
asked for her to be the wife of Thord. An agreement was 
struck, and Thord took to him Snaelaug, and they loved 
one another much, and had a son together. Now, it fell 
out that a man named Hreinn had been foster-son to Hogni 
when Snaelaug had her bastard. He went abroad after that, 
and now the news came that he was dead in Norway. And 
when the tidings reached Hogni and Snaelaug, she admitted 
that he had been the father of her daughter Gunnlaug. 
When this was known, the bishop Thorlac forbade all inter- 

* S. Paul of Skalholt was aged forty when censecrated in 1195, so that the con- 
nection with Ragneid must have been of long standing. Thorlac not only paid no 
attention to this scandal, but he actually feasted in the house of John Loptsson, where 
his sister was kept as a mistress, till the personal quarrel broke out between him and 
Loptsson, when he took advantage of it to excommunicate the adulterer. 

Dec. 23.] 

S. Thorlac. 267 

course between Thord and Snaelaug.* But because they 
loved one another dearly, they paid little attention to what 
he said. After that he again forbade them, and excom- 
municated them. The bishop went himself at the Althing to 
the Lawhill, and pronounced the divorce of Thord and Snae- 
laug, and their child a bastard born in incest. The reason 
of this was, that Thord the priest and the deceased Hreinn 
were related in the fourth degree, within which marriage 
was prohibited without special dispensation.* At the same 
time, S. Thorlac deposed Hogni for having allowed such a 
union to take place. Eyjolf, the other son-in-law of Hogni, 
also incurred his displeasure. He had become possessed 
of a property which had been held by Steinn, a priest. 
Steinn was dead, having left two daughters, who had inherited 
his lands, and they had either sold it or come to some arrange- 
ment with Eyjolf as tenant. Thorlac claimed the farm for 
the Church, on what plea does not transpire, probably 
because the priest had died intestate, and therefore the 
Church, not his daughters, should inherit. 

Eyjolf, who was excommunicated by S. Thorlac as guilty 
of sacrilege in seizing on ecclesiastical property, sum- 
moned his servants, armed them, waylaid the bishop, and 
demanded compensation for two of his maids who had 
been seduced by two of S. Thorlac's clergy. A certain 
Thorleif Beiskald interfered and patched up a reconcilia- 
tion. Each priest was to pay five hundred ells of brown 
vadmal for the seduction. 

Thord and his wife tried by all means in their power to . 
induce the bishop to relax his inhibition of their open union, 
but in vain. They therefore resolved to obtain restoration 

* See also Sturlunga Saga^ lib. iii. 3. 

3 At present, by applying to Rome and paying for a dispensation, marriages are 
permitted within much nearer degrees. The current Almanach de Gotha gives in- 
stances of noble Roman Catholic families in which uncles have married nieces, 
with dispensation from the Pope. 

268 L ives of the Sa ints, [Dec. 23. 

to communion by converting it into a clandestine union. 
Thord, it was arranged before the bishop, should remain at 
his cure of Gard, and Snaelaug should return to her father 
at Bae. However, they visited each other as often as possible, 
and she bore him three sons. 

Hogni, the father of Snaelaug, had also a difference with 
S. Thorlac. He had been to Norway, and had brought 
home a shipload of timber. He set to work, built at Bae 
a handsome church, furnished it with all its necessary equip- 
ments, and then asked the bishop to consecrate it. But 
Thorlac refused, unless the presentation to it were made 
over into his hands and those of his successors in the see of 
Skalholt. Hogni would not allow this, and the church re- 
mained unconsecrated. 

Rather than yield his rights of patron, Hogni declared he 
would use his church as a stable. 

Hogni awaited an occasion when the bishop was on his 
way from Reykholt to Saurbae, when he and Eyjolf waylaid 
him as he was passing a ford in the Grimsd, and insisted on 
his going at once to Bae. There the bishop found all the 
chief men of Reykholtsdale assembled, prepared to support 
the rights of the patron, and Thorlac was obliged sulkily to 
give way, consecrate the church, and say mass in it. After 
that he was dismissed with rich presents, and with mutual 
but insincere professions of amity. 

When old, Thorlac was desirous of resigning his bishopric 
and retiring to the monastery of Thykkubae ; but before he 
could carry his .project into execution, he fell mortally ill on 
his visitation tour through the valleys opening into the Bor- 
garfjord. Feeling that his end was approaching, he bade 
his friends farewell, and gave his ring to Paul, the bastard 
of his sister by John Loptsson. After he had received ex- 
treme unction he renewed and conl&rmed all the excom- 
munications he had pronounced, lest in the last agony the 

Dec. 23.] 

vS. Thorlac. 269 

solicitation of his friends, or a milder spirit of forgiveness, 
should overcome his failing resolution. He died in his 
sixtieth year, after having been bishop fifteen years, on. 
December 23, 11 93. 

In LI 98 he was canonized by vote of the senate of the 
island, and the days of his election and death appointed as 
festivals to be observed in his honour perpetually. 

His relics received veneration throughout the Middle 
Ages till the Reformation, when they were buried, except 
the skull, which is still shown in Skalholt cathedral. The 
skull, however, proves, on examination, to be a cocoa-nut. 

270 L ives of the Saints. 

[Dec. 24. 

December 24. 

SS. XL. Virgins, MM. at Antiock; a.d. 250. 

S. Gregory, M. at Spoleto; a.d. 303. 

S. EuTHYMius, M. at Nicomedia; a.d. 304. 

S. Delphinus, B. of Bordeaux ; a.d. 404. 

S. Tarsilla, V. at Rome ; 6tA cent. 

S. Levan, B.C. at Triguierin Brittany; dtk cefit. 

SS. Irmina and Adela, W. at Trives ; jthcent. 


(A.D. 303.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus, &c. At Cologne on Dec. 23. 
Authority : — A Passion in Surius, late and fabulous.] 

HE legend of S. Gregory — ^it must not be regarded 
as in any way historical — relates that Maximian 
appointed Flaccus, governor of Umbria, to root 
out the Christians. Flaccus came to Spoleto and 
summoned all the inhabitants together by the town crier 
into the forum. Then he said to Tircanus, chief magistrate 
of Spoleto, '* Have all these deserted the immortal gods ? " 
''By no means," answered Tircanus. "They all worship 
Jove, Minerva, and -^sculapius. There is, however, in this 
city a man called Gregory, who threw down the images of 
the gods." Then Flaccus ordered forty soldiers to invest 
his house and secure him. Gregory was brought before 
Flaccus and Tircanus, and when asked to adore the gods, 
affirmed that Jove, Minerva, and -^sculapius were demons. 
Thereupon his ears were boxed and he was bidden not to 
blaspheme. He was put in an iron pot over a fire. An 
earthquake upset the pot before Gregory was quite roasted, 

Dec. 24.] S. DelphintLs. 2 7^1 

and threw down a quarter of the city, burying four hundred 
and fifty idolaters under the ruins. Then Gregory was 
laden with chains and sent to prison. Next day his bare 
knees were beaten with spiked iron scourges, and his sides 
were scorched with flaming torches. His tortures were at 
last put an end to by decapitation in the amphitheatre. 

The relics of S. Gregory of Spoleto are preserved in 
Cologne Cathedral. Other relics are at Spoleto. 


(a.d. 404.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Authorities : — A letter of S. 
Ambrose, and several letters of S. Paulinus.] 

Delphinus, bishop of Bordeaux, attended the council of 
Saragossa, held in 380, along with Phoebadius of Agen, and 
Idacius of Merida. The canons passed are remarkable for 
the practical good sense exhibited by those who drew them 
up. They forbid clergy deserting their charges for the sake 
of embracing the monastic life ; and the veiling of nuns 
earlier than the age of forty. The council passed judgment 
on the Priscillianist Instantius, and on Hymus of Cordova, 
who had received the heretics to communion. Priscil- 
lianism was a form of Gnosticism or Manichaeism ; it placed 
flesh and spirit in antagonism, in irreconcilable opposition. 
The sect lingered on in Spain, spread into Provence, and 
broke out later in Albigensianism. Like all Manichaean 
sects, it had a double aspect, one ascetic and pure, the 
other licentious. Some, living to the spirit, mortified the 
deeds of the body, others, living in the spirit, thought that 
the deeds done in the body in no way stained the soul. 
With this heresy were mixed up mysticism and hysterical 

272 L ives of the Saints, ^pec. 24. 



devotion: in their paroxysms of religious exaltation they 
threw off their clothes and prayed and capered in nudity, 
like the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century and the Shakers 
of the present day, the spiritual descendants of these early 

Idacius of Merida, in his wrath against the Priscillianists, 
appealed to the secular arm, and by a rescript of Gratian they 
were expelled their churches and the country. Instantius, 
Salvian, and Priscillian went to Rome to justify themselves 
and obtain a repeal of this judgment. On their way they 
passed through the diocese of S. Delphinus. He refused to 
receive them. 

S. Paulinus of Nola was baptized by S. Delphinus in 392, 
and that great saint ever after reverenced the bishop of 
Bordeaux as his spiritual father, and kept up with him a 
correspondence on matters relating to the practice of per- 

(6th cent.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : — S. Gregory the Great, Dialog, 
iv. 16, and Horn. 38 in Evang.] 

S. Gregory the Great had three aunts, sisters of his 
father, Gordian the senator. They lived a retired religious 
life in their father's house. Their names were Tarsilla (or 
Thrasilla), -^miliana, and Gordiana. The two elder re- 
nounced the world and took a vow of celibacy the same 
day. Gordiana joined them in their vow, but was not pre- 
pared to live the life of abject self-humiliation and self- 
torture which the two elder undertook. She was disposed 
to be moderate in her diet, but not to starve herself; not to 
braid her hair and anoint herself with spikenard, but also 

Dec. 24.] 

S. Levan. 273 

not to abandon the bath altogether. However, she did not 
withdraw from their company, though she found it irksome 
to her, but bore with patience what she regarded as their 
eccentricities. She was apparently very young when her 
two elder sisters induced her to vow celibacy. When she 
was old enough to understand what it meant, she regretted 
the step, and after the death of her sisters relieved her of 
restraint, she married her guardian. Tarsilla is said by S. 
Gregory to have been favoured with a vision of her uncle, 
Pope S. Felix, who showed her a throne in heaven, and told 
her it was prepared for her. She fell ill with fever, and 
when dying, cried to the assisfants, " Depart ! make room ! 
Jesus is coming ! " S. Gregory assures us, with great satis- 
faction, that after death the skin of his aunt's knees was 
found as hard as the hide of a camel, through her continual 

A few days after her death, which took place on Decem- 
ber the 24th, she appeared to her sister ^miliana, and 
invited her to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany with her in 
eternal bliss. ^Emiliana fell sick, and died on the 8th of 
January, on which day she is mentioned in the Roman 
Martyrology. Gordiana is unnoticed in the Martyrology; 
S. Gregory indeed hints that his youngest aunt went to per- 

(6th cent.) 

[By the Bollandists on Oct. 17. "Memorials of British Piety, or a 
British Mart3n:ology," on Dec. 24. The day on which he is com- 
memorated in Brittany is Sept. 12.] 

According to tradition in Brittany, S. Levan or Levian 
was a native of Britain, no doubt of Cornwall, where there is 
a church dedicated to him. He is said to have vowed him- 


• -^ 

2 74 Lives of the Saints. pec. 24. 

self to God at an early age, within the walls of a monastery. 
He was constituted abbot. As many other British saints 
in the sixth century migrated to Armorica, Levan was seized 
with the same impulse, and crossed to Brittany, where he 
,was consecrated regionary bishop; he had his cell at Tr^- 
darzec, near Tr^guier. Before 1793 he '^^s commemorated 
merely as an abbot and confessor. His relics were trans- 
lated to Paris alo% with those of S. Leuthiem in 965. He 
is invoked in Brittany in behalf of deformed children. 


(about A.D. 707.) 

[Venerated at Treves on this day. In Gallican and German Mar- 
tyrologies generally Irmina alone. Authority : — A Life by John Tri- 
themius, abbot of Spanheim, d. 1516 ; too late to be of any value.] 

S. Irmina and her sister S. Adela were daughters of 
Dagobert II., King of the Franks. He turned the royal 
bam in the neighbourhood of Treves into a convent for his 
daughters, and it thence took the name of Horreum or 
Oehren. The story of Irmina is sufficiently tragical. She 
was engaged in early youth to a Count Hermann, and 
was passionately attached to him. The day of the marriage 
was fixed. It was to take place at Treves, and she took 
her way thither with a retinue. .There was in her train a 
young man named Edgar, who had fallen frantically in love 
with his mistress, and his heart was consumed with jealousy 
and despair as the day approached when she was to become 
the bride of Count Hermann. When Irmina and her atten- 
dants reached Treves, on the eve of the marriage, Edgar 
went to the count, and told him in confidence that there was 
a foreign merchant near the town who had rare jewels for 

Dec. 24.] •5'«5'. Irmina and A dela . 275 

sale, and oflfered to lead Hermann to him, so that he might 
purchase ornaments from him without Irmina suspecting 
what was in store for her, and he could place them upon her 
at the wedding. The count fell into the trap, and accom- 
panied the young man out of the town, across the Mosel 
bridge, and to the top of the rock where now stands the 
Mariensaiile. There Edgar suddenly clasped his rival in 
his arms, and flung himself with the count over the edge of 
the precipice. The wedding day came, but no bridegroom 
was to be seen. It was only after some days that the body 
of the count was found fast locked in the arms of the dead 
servant of Irmina. Dagobert then allowed his daughter to 
take the veil, 676, and founded the convent at Trfeves for 
her. Adela, her sister, took the veil with her. Irmina, 
according to all accounts, was bom in 662, and therefore was 
only fourteen when this tragedy took place. 

Hontheim has published the diploma of Dagobert II. for 
the founding of the convent, and it was dedicated by Bishop 
Modoald. Not a trace of the convent remains, but marble 
pillars and ruined walls existed when Hontheim wrote his 
History of Treves. 


276 Lives of the Saints, ^j^^ ,5. 

December 25. 

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

S. Eugenia, V.M. at Rome; a.d. 258. 

SS. Martyrs at Nicomedia ; a.d. 303. 

S. Anastasia, M. in the Isle qfPalmaria ; a.d. 304. 

S. Adalsendis, y. at Marckiennes near Namur; circ. a.d. 714. 

B. Peter the Venerable, Ab. qfCluny; a.d. 1156. 

S. FuLK, B. 0/ Toulouse; a.d. 1231. 


[Roman and all Western Martyrologies. Also the Eastern Menaeas. 
The Carthaginian Kalendar of the 5th cent, and the ancient Roman 
KLalendar of the middle of the 4th cent., published by Bucherius.] 

ILL the year 325 we have only uncertain traces of 
the observance of this festival; but in the middle of 
the fourth century, under Pope Liberius, we hear 
of it as generally observed in the Roman Church, 
and throughout the West. The celebration of the Feast of 
the Nativity spread from the West to the East, and S. John 
Chrysostom used his utmost endeavour to promote this intro- 
duction. Already, in 386, S. John Chrysostom says that the 
festival was observed in Antioch.* The festival is ordered to 
be observed with reverence and dignity by the councils of 
Agde in 504 (can. 64), of Orleans in 511 (can. 24), and of 
Epaone in 517 (can. 35). Before this, the commemoration 
of the Nativity was united with that of the Epiphany, which 
is far the more ancient festival of the two. 

At Rome is shown, in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, 
in the Sixtine Chapel, the cradle of Bethlehem, encrusted 
with silver, and enriched with ornaments, given it by Philip 
HI. of Spain. 

Dec. 25] ^^- Martyrs at Nicomedia. 277 

The napkins wherewith the Infant Saviour was wrapped, 
were anciently exhibited in Constantinople, but were trans- 
lated to Paris in the thirteenth century, and placed by S. Louis 
in the Sainte Chapelle. 

Beside the cradle in which our Lord, it is alleged, was 
rocked, is the stone manger of the grotto of Bethlehem. One 
of the stones of this manger is shown in the basilica of 
S. Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline, in the altar of the crypt 
of the chapel of the B. Sacrament. 

Some of the napkins of Christ are also exposed to the 
adoration of Catholics in the same chapel. The cloak with 
which S. Joseph covered the crib, to protect the Child from 
the cold, is in the church of S. Anastasia at Rome. The 
basilica of Santa Croce in Genisalemme at Rome has also 
the felicity of possessing the first cuttings of His infant hair. 

The church of Courtrai in Belgium also pretends to possess 
three hairs from our Lord's head, but pulled out when He 
was older. The cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle also affects 
to be possessed of some of the napkins, of the colour of 

On December 25th the Greeks also commemorate the 
Adoration of the Magi. 


(a.d. 303.) 

[Roman Martyrology.] 

The Roman Martyrology says on this day: "At Nico- 
media, the passion of several thousand martyrs, who were 
assembled on the day of the nativity of their Lord, to cele- 
brate the solemnity. The emperor Diocletian commanded 
the doors of the church to be closed, and firewood was heaped 

278 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ a^. 

up around the church for consuming it. Then he had a tripod 
with incense placed at the entrance, and it was proclaimed 
with a loud voice by a herald that those who desired to save 
themselves from being burned to death might come forth and 
offer incense to Jupiter. Thereupon all replied with one voice 
that they had rather die for Jesus Christ than commit this 
sacrilege. The fire was then applied, and all were consumed, 
so that they had the good fortune to be borne to heaven on 
the very day on which our Saviour was born on earth for the 
salvation of the world." As the feast of Christ's nativity 
was certainly not observed at Nicomedia on December 25 th, 
at the time of the persecution of Diocletian, and not till 
long after, we may dismiss these martyrs to the realm of 

(a.d. 304.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Usuardus. By the Greeks on Dec. 22. 
Authority :— The apocryphal Acts, undeserving of confidence, in Meta- 
phrastes. Also the equally untrustworthy Acts of S . Chrysogonus.] 

S. ANASTASIA the younger, to distinguish her from the 
saint pf the same name who is commemorated on October 
28th, wa^he daughter of a heathen father and a Christian 
mother. Sfte was married to a Roman nobleman called Pub- 
lius, who wa^a pagan-, and strongly prejudiced against 
Christianity. Ahastasia devoted her time and means to the 
relief of the martyrs^ in prison, during the persecution of 
Diocletian. Her husband then forbade her leaving the 
house. She wrote lettei^ to S. Chrysogonus, and received 
replies from him. The letters are extant, but they are not 
genuine, they are fabrications by the authors of the Acts of 
S. Chrysogonus and S. Anastasia. Publius was sent by the 

Dec. 25.] S. Anastasta. ^ 279 

emperor on an embassy to Persia, and died on his way, to the 
great satisfaction of his wife. 

She at once recommenced her attendance on the martyrs. 
She was arrested at Aquileja, and brought before Florus, 
prefect of lUyria. In prison she was visited by S. Theodota, 
afterwards a martyr (August 2nd). 

S. Anastasia was put in a ship along with a Christian 
named Eutychianus, and a hundred and twenty pagans, con- 
demned to death. The vessel was conveyed out to sea, 
scuttled, and those on board were left to perish. 

The water was already flowing in at the holes, when 
S. Theodota appeared, seized the helm, and guided the ship 
to the shore. This miracle caused the conversion of the 
hundred and twenty idolaters, and three days after they 
suflfered martyrdom. 

Anastasia was conveyed to the island of Palmaria with two 
hundred men and seventy women condemned to death for 
believing in Christ. She was there stretched to posts stuck 
in the earth, her hands and feet extended like a S. Andrew's 
cross, and a fire was lighted about her which speedily con- 
sumed her. The rest of the company suffered various kinds 
of martyrdom. 

Her relics were conveyed to Constantinople under the 
patriarch Gennadius, and placed in the basilica of the Resur- 
rection. This church at Constantinople was dedicated to 
the Anastasis or Resurrection, as the great metropolitan 
church was dedicated to S. Sophia, the Eternal Wisdom. 
Popular ignorance made of Sophia a female saint and martyr, 
and so also the Anastasis became a saint and martyr. 

The name of Anastasia occurs in the Canon of the Mass, 
but probably not the name of this most mythical martyr, but 
of Anastasia the elder. 

28o Lives of the Saints. [dccss. 

"" ' ■ 1 1 I 1 1— ■ ■ I ■■■I ^ 


(about A.D. 714.) 

[Galilean, Belgian, and Benedictine Martyrologies. Authority : — 
Mention in the Lives of S. Rictradis and S. Clotsendis.] 

S. Adalsendis was daughter of S. Adalbald and S. Ric- 
trudis. She was the youngest of their daughters, and after 
the murder of her father, she followed her mother into the 
convent of Marchiennes in Hainault. " She who entered 
last of her sisters in at the gate of temporal life, entered first 
of them by the gate of death to life eternal." She died on 
Christmas Day. Her mother restrained her tears for her till 
the Feast of the Innocents, lest her sorrow should mar the 
glad solemnity of the Nativity. 


(a.d. 1156.) 

[Benedictine and Galilean Martyrologies. Authorities ;— ^His own 
letters and those of S. Bernard and Innocent II.] 

Pontius, abbot of Cluny, had been elected when young, 
his character having given great hopes of his proving an 
active ruler. But by degrees pride overmastered him, and 
when he appeared in 11 16 at the Lateran Council, he arro- 
gated to himself the haughty title of Abbot of Abbots. John 
of Gaeta, chancellor of the Roman Church, then sarcastically 
inquired whether Monte Cassino or Cluny was the cradle and 
head of the Benedictine Order. General discontent against 
the rule of Pontius prevailed among the Cluniacs, and its 
mutterings reached the ears of Callixtus II. Pontius then, 
in a fit of irritation, went to Rome, and insisted on resigning 

Dec. 25.] 

B. Peter the Venerable, 281 

his office into the hands of the Pope, who, with a fonnal ex- 
hibition of reluctance, accepted it, and Pontius departed for 
Jerusalem. The Pope informed the monks of Cluny of what 
had taken place, and they elected another abbot, Hugh, 
prior of Marcigny, but a man so old that he died three 
months after. Another chapter was held, in August, 1122, 
and Peter Maurice was elected abbot. His nomination was 
confirmed by the Pope, and he received abbatial benediction 
from the hands of the bishop of Besan^on. 

Peter belonged to a noble family of Auvergne. He had 
been offered in childhood by his parents to the abbot, 
S. Hugh of Cluny (d. 1 109). He had been prior of Vezelai, 
and was about thirty years old when elected to the govern- 
ment of the abbey of Cluny, which he governed nearly thirty- 
five years. He is known by the title of Peter the Venerable, 
and is one of the most attractive figures which monastic and 
mediaeval history presents to us. 

Peter Maurice had scarcely been three years in the enjoy- 
ment of his preferment, when Pontius, the former abbot, 
having got tired of the East, and regretting his precipitation 
in resigning the abbacy, returned to Europe, and built a 
monastery at Treviso in Italy. But that did not satisfy him, 
his envious eyes were turned on Peter and Cluny. He left 
Treviso and came into Aquitain, accoutred with all the in- 
signia of holy asceticism likely to attract the admiration of 
the vulgar and superstitious. He wore bands of iron round 
his arms, eating into his flesh ; a sackcloth shirt ; scourged 
himself till blood was drawn, scarcely ate, and worked 

He gradually approached the neighbourhood of Cluny, 
and took the opportunity, when he had learned by spies 
that Peter was absent, of swooping down on the vacant nest 
with a train of monks, and, if we may believe his adversaries, 
of women, drove out the prior Bernard, and resumed his 

282 Lives of the Saints. ^Dec. 25. 

abbatial chair. Those monks who favoured Peter were 
driven out or fled. The rest took oaths of obedience to him. 
He now cast aside the mask of asceticism, called the neigh- 
bouring knights and robbers to his aid, enrolled them in an 
army of occupation, and gave up the villages on the abbey- 
lands which would not acknowledge him to their mercy. 
The estates of the abbey were ravaged with fire and sword, 
not, doubtless, at his instigation, but by the lawless robbers 
whom he had called to his aid, and whom he could not con- 
trol with the abbatial staff The prior Bernard and some of 
the monks threw themselves into castles and walled towns, 
and summoned the vassals of the abbey to their aid. The 
summer of 11 25 was spent in warfare between the levies of 
the rival abbots. Pope Honorius II. heard of this disorder, 
and his legate, Peter de Fontibus, with the archbishop of 
Lyons, pronounced anathema against Pontius and his adhe- 
rents ; and Honorius summoned both parties before the 
apostolic throne. Peter the Venerable hastened to Rome, 
and met Pontius there. And now a curious complication 

Pontius was excommunicated for having possessed himself 
of Cluny and certain estates of the Order. An excommuni- 
cate man cannot appear before the papal consistory to argue 
his cause. He is out of the Church, and therefore cannot 
plead as a member of it. 

Yet he was again summoned before the Pope, and when 
he would present himself was repulsed. It was explained to 
him that he must surrender Cluny and all he had secured 
before the ban was taken off, and he could enter the court 
and be heard. He lost his temper : " No one has power 
thus to cast me out of the Church, save Peter in heaven ! " 
he incautiously exclaimed. This dangerous sentiment was 
speedily wafted to the Pope's ear, and exasperated him to the 
last degree. Pontius was a heretic, he defied the authority 

Dec. 25.] B* Peter the Venerable. 283 

of the apostolic throne. Honorius bade the monks who 
were with Pontius state their case. They appeared, beating 
their breasts, with bare feet, and many prostrations, and 
were absolved. They then stated their case, and were an- 
swered by Prior Matthew of S. Martin des Champs, who 
appeared for Peter the Venerable. There could be no 
doubt that the judgment would be adverse to the usurper, 
but it was so overwhelming as to petrify his party. Pontius, 
usurper, sacrilegious man, schismatic, and excommunicate, 
was deposed for ever from every ecclesiastical dignity and 
sacred function; Cluny was to be restored to its rightful 
abbot forthwith. But Pontius was not allowed to escape 
and revisit the East ; by the Pope's orders he was cast into a 
dungeon, where he conveniently died on the 28 th December 
following, Matthew of S. Martin des Champs was re- 
warded with the cardinal bishopric of Alba. 

A miserable jealousy had sprung up between the monks 
of Citeaux and those of Cluny. The monks of Citeaux 
accused those of Cluny of relaxfition of their rule. Those 
of Cluny replied that the rule of Citeaux was unpractical in 
its severity, at all events for all monks. 

A cousin of S. Bernard, named Robert, was a bone of 
contention between the two Reforms. Robert had been 
offered by his parents to Cluny, but he had gone to Clair- 
vaux after a while to his relative. Finding the discipline 
intolerable for his constitution, he went back to the milder 
monastic atmosphere of Cluny; on an appeal to Rome, the 
Pope ordered Robert to remain at Cluny. But to S. Ber- 
nard this was an apostacy of his cousin, scarcely less hein- 
ous than if he had married and eaten beef He wrote him a 
violent letter, declaring the papal rescript null and void, and 
assuring the youth of damnation through an eternity of 
flames and gnawing worms unless he cast aside the weeds of 
Cluny and returned to the habit of Citeaux. 

284 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 25. 

Peter the Venerable, with that gentle forbearance and 
love of peace which make him stand out conspicuous in his 
generation, when each man sought his own, or the things of 
his Order, not the things of Jesus Christ, sent Robert to his 
cousin at Clairvaux. But the monks of Cluny could not see 
this tame surrender, as they regarded it, without murmurs, 
and William, abbot of S. Thierry, near Rheims, wrote a 
sharp letter to S. Bernard, remonstrating with him for stir- 
ring up strife between two Orders which ought to live to- 
gether in the Church in unity. 

S. Bernard answered by sending a string of accusations. 
The Cluniacs had dishes of great variety at their table, and 
a great many kinds of fish to make up for not being 
allowed meat. These dishes have sauces flavoured with pot- 
herbs and spices. A variety of wines stand in their cellars. 
Monks shammed illness that they might eat meat in the in- 
firmary, and those who were sick were allowed a stick to 
support their tottering steps. The material for the habits 
was of the best. " You say that religion is a matter of the 
heart, and riot of the habit. That may be true, but this 
daintiness of habit shows the softness of the heart." Accord- 
ing to S. Bernard, the Kingdom of God, one would suppose, 
did consist in meat and drink rather than in righteousness, 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 

Peter the Venerable wrote ah answer to the charges and in- 
vectives of S. Bernard, couched in the gentlest of tones, the 
answer of a man who stood above such petty disputes about 
trifles in the serene atmosphere of gospel charity. 

" You allow fugitives to return more often than the three 
times prescribed by the Rule," was one of Bernard's charges, 
"We place no limits to the mercy of God," was Peter's 

" You allow furs to be worn, and furs are not mentioned 
in the Rule," urged Bernard. " The brothers are allowed to 

Dec. 25.] B.Peter the Venerable. 285 

clothe themselves according to the season," answered Peter. 
Other accusations were more difficult to answer, as that the 
Cluniacs had given up manual labour in the fields, and 
possessed castles and estates, and serfs, male and female, 
and had lawsuits and contests by arms about their lands. 
Peter. the Venerable wound up with a remarkable general 
reply. There are two sorts of commandments of God, he 
sdd ; — that of Charity, which is perpetually binding and im- 
mutable, and the precepts which vary with the times and 
mode of life, and which change subject to the directions of 
Charity. Charity is supreme. She may permit at one time 
what was forbidden or tolerated at another ; and Charity is 
the law overriding all monastic regulations, which sits and 
rules in the heart of every true monastic superior. And 
then he gently added that surely it would be more charitable, 
more in accordance with the love of God, if the Cistercians 
allowed the brethren some of those little relaxations which 
are needed by those infirm or sickly, and without which 
their health must fail. 

*In 1 138 died William de Sabran, bishop of Langres, and 
Hugh, son of the duke of Burgundy, wished to appoint to 
the vacant see a monk of Cluny, who was probably recom- 
mended to him by Peter the Venerable. But S. Bernard 
coveted the see for one of his Clairvaux monks. The arch- 
bishop of Lyons and the dean of Langres went to Rome to 
ask of the Pope permission for the chapter of Langres to 
elect a bishop. S. Bernard was then at Rome, and he 
opposed them with vehemence, and endeavoured to force an 
oath on the archbishop that he would only consecrate and 
confirm a nominee of his own. The archbishop gave an 
equivocal answer and hastened home. Bernard returned to 
Clairvaux, which was situated in the diocese of Langres, 
and found that the chapter was about to elect the monk of 
Cluny. Bernard interfered, and appealed against them to 

286- Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 25. 

Rome. The abbot of Cluny, and the son of the duke of 
Burgundy, also wrote to Rome along with the chapter. But 
the monk was consecrated by the archbishop of Lyons, 
assisted by the bishops of Autun and Micon, before Ber- 
nard's appeal was answered. His indignation and violence 
now knew no bounds. He raked together false charges 
against the unfortunate bishop elect on the merest hearsay, 
which Peter the Venerable indignantly repudiated, but 
which Bernard, when convicted of false accusations, never 
had the honesty to withdraw. 

The Pope was too dependent on S. Bernard's authority 
and influence at that time to be able to resist his imperious 
dictation : the Cluniac monk was dismissed, his consecration 
pronounced void, and a monk chosen by Bernard, his own 
cousin, the prior of Clairvaux, was forced on the reluctant 
chapter and diocese by his domineering will. 

Abelard appealed to Rome against his condemnation by 
the council of Sens, in which he had been vehemently de- 
nounced by Bernard, and ignorantly condemned by men who 
did not understand his logic. An appeal from Bernard to 
Rome was an appeal from Bernard to himself. Pope Inno- 
cent II. was too deeply indebted to him not to confirm his 
sentence. Absent^ unheard, unconvicted, Abelard. was con- 
demned by the supreme pontiff. The condemnation was 
uttered almost before the charge was fully known. The 
decree of Innocent reproved all public disputations on the 
mysteries of religion. Abelard was condemned to silence ; 
his disciples to excommunication. 

Abelard had set out on his journey to Rome ; he was 
stopped by severe illness, and found hospitable reception 
in the abbey of Cluny. 

Peter the Venerable did more than protect the outcast to 
the close of his life. He did not relax his labours of tender 
charity till he had accomplished an outward reconciliation 

Dec. 250 B. Peter the Venerable. 287 

between the persecuted Abelard and the victoFious Bernard. 
It was but a hollow outward reconciliation. The reconcilia- 
tion of minds was psychologically impossible. Abelard pub- 
Hshed an apology — if apology it might be called — which 
accused his adversary of ignorance or of malice. Ignorance 
there certainly was in Bernard, he had not the mental capa- 
city to understand the arguments of Abelard, and his conduct 
bore at all events •the outward aspect of vindictiveness. 
Among the most distinguished prelates there were many 
who sympathized, if not with the speculations, at least with 
the sufferings of Abelard. Bernard wrote to all whom he 
suspected of tenderness towards the old, broken-down, and 
hunted philosopher, to goad them into hostility. "Though a 
Baptist without in his austerities," he wrote to Cardinal Ivo, 
" Abelard is a Herod within." Still, for the last two years 
of his life, Abelard found peace, honour, seclusion, in the 
abbey of Cluny, under the protection of the dove-like Peter. 
He died at the age of sixty-three. Peter had written 


to the Pope, entreating that the failing old man might be left 
at peace to die in that nest. ** Pray allow the last days of his 
life and old age — not many, I suspect — to be passed in your 
Cluny, and let not the impatience of certain ones prevail to 
obtain his expulsion from the house in which as a sparrow, 
from the nest in which as a dove, it delights the old man to 
find his home." 

He was allowed to remain there; and when he died, Peter 
the Venerable, with delicate kindness, at once communicated 
the tidings to the still faithful Heloisa. His language may be 
contrasted with that of S. Bernard. " I never saw his equal 
for humility of manners and habits. S. Germain was not 
more modest, nor S. Martin more poor. He allowed no 
moment to escape unoccupied by prayer, reading, writing, or 
dictation. The heavenly visitor surprised him in the midst 
of these holy works." 

288 Lives of the Saints. [Dcc. 25. 

In 1 1 43 Peter, of Cluny wrote again to S. Bernard on the 
differences between the two Reforms, so that apparently 
S. Bernard had again been attacking the Cluniacs. He says 
in this lett<er that he loves both Bernard and the Cistercians, 
and that his charity must be very warm since it has stood the 
shock both of the strife about tithes, and of that concerning 
the bishopric of Langres. The question of tithes was the 
claim of the Cluniacs to demand a tax from a Cistercian 
monastery situated on their lands, which was indignantly re- 
sented, and led to appeal and counter appeal. At the end 
of the letter, Peter says that he sends S. Bernard a version of 
the Koran of Mohammed. This version Peter had made for 
him in Spain by Robert, archdeacon of Pampeluna, an Eng- 
lishman, and a certain Hermann of Dalmatia, who was in 
Spain, studying astronomy. He paid them handsomely for 
the work. 

Innocent II. died September 23rd, 1143, ^ind was suc- 
ceeded by Guido di Castello, cardinal of S. Mario, the 
scholar of Abelard. He was elected, as he says in a letter 
he wrote at once to Peter the Venerable, the third day after 
the death of Innocent, by the cardinal priests and deacons 
assembled in the Lateran basilica, with the bishops and 
subdeacons, and with the acclamations of the Roman 

He took the name of Coelestine II. Peter the Venerable 
had his letter read in full chapter ; it was written at Rome on 
November i6th, and received at Cluny on November 29th. 

Coelestine died after a pontificate of less than six months, 
and was succeeded by Lucius II., who wrote to Peter the 
Venerable to send him thirteen of his monks whom he wished 
to establish in Rome in the monastery of S. Sabas. 

In 1 146 the urgent preaching of Bernard against the 
infidels, and his efforts to rouse the interests of the Christian 
princes in a new crusade, led to the disastrous result of 

Dec. 95] B. Peter the Venerable, 289 

rousing the people in France and Germany to massacre the 
Jews, the nearest infidels at hand on whose bodies to exhibit 
their enthusiasm for the Cross and hatred of misbelief. 

S. Bernard did his utmost to stop the massacre. Peter 
of Cluny wTote to King Louis VII. to arrest the butchery. 
He urged the king to restrain the Jews from grinding down 
the poor by usury, and from being accomplices to burglars, , 
who broke into churches and dwellings, stole chalices and 
other objects of precious metal, and carried them to the Jews, 
who bought them, and melted them up at once. Biit Peter 
of Cluny was not above the prejudices of his age. If he 
did not countenance the massacre, he did countenance the 
plunder of the Jews. 

Peter the Venerable wrote a controversial letter on the 
errors of Peter de Brueys, who had been burned alive by a 
mob, zealous for the Catholic faith, but whose sect survived. 
Almost all we know of this obscure heretic is from the letter 
of the abbot of Cluny. Peter de Brueys is said to have 
been a clerk ; he preached in the South of France during 
about twenty years. From the epistle of Peter the Vener- 
able, we learn that the heretic denied infant baptism, respect 
for churches, the worship of the cross, transubstantiation, 
prayers for the dead, and fasting. "The people," wrote 
Peter the Venerable, " are re-baptized, altars thrown down, 
crosses burned, meat publicly eaten on the day of the Lord's 
Passion, priests scourged, monks imprisoned, or compelled 
by terror or torture to marry." 

It is clear that Peter de Brueys was influenced by Mani- 
chsean tenets, such as had produced in an earlier age the 
Priscillianist heresy, and was shortly to develop rapidly into 

Peter the Venerable went to Rome in 1150, and after 
spending five months there, returned to Cluny, where he 
found deputies from the monasteries of his Order in Spain, 

VOL. XII. u 

2 90 L tves of the Saints. [Dec. 25. 

England, France, Italy, and Germany. He received a letter * 
from S. Bernard, but was unable to answer it at once on 
his return, on account of the pressure of business which his 
absence had occasioned. When he answered S. Bernard, it 
was to give him an account of his reception by Eugenius III. 
Eugenius was a Cistercian, whose sole recommendation to 
the electors was that he was a friend of Bernard. " In elect- 
ing you," said Bernard, "they made me Pope, not you." j 
With his characteristic gentleness and love of peace, Peter , 
wrote to S. Bernard in the most kindly tone, giving a glow- J 
ing description of the Pope, who, he said, had shown him ^ 
the utmost honour and friendship. 

In 1 1 40, Roger, king of Sicily, had lost his eldest son, |- 

Roger, duke of Apulia, after having lost three other sons. 
In 1 150 he had his only remaining son, William, prince of 
Capua, crowned king of Sicily. Peter of Cluny wrote to the 
king a kindly letter of sympathy on his bereavements. He 
then added that he regretted the disunion which existed 
between him and the king of Germany, and offered himself 
as mediator. He also urged him to chastise the Greeks for 
their ill-treatment of pilgrims to the Holy Land. 

Peter the Venerable was the last man of celebrity among 
the abbots of Cluny. The Reform fell into obscurity, and 
was supplanted by the Cistercian Reform, which inherited its 
popularity and, in time, its laxity. 

Dec. 25.] 

k9. Fulk, 291 


(a.d. 1 23 1.) 

[Galilean Martyrologies. Venerated on this day at Marseilles and , 
Toulouse. Authorities : — Various notices of his Life, collected in " Hist. 
Litteraire de la France," xviii. p. 586 seq,^ and Fauriel, " Hist, de la 
Poesie Proven9ale," ii. p. 69 seqP^ 

FuLK was bom at Marseilles between 1 160 and 1 1 70. His 
father was a merchant of Venice, who had retired from busi- 
ness to Marseilles, and who died, leaving Fulk a consider- 
able fortune. The old biographer of the troubadour relates 
his entry into life in sufficiently remarkable terms, which, if 
vague, indicate from the beginning the character of the 
young man, ready to do his utmost to push his way in the 
world. "Folquet," says he, "showed himself greedy of 
honour and renown, and began to attend on powerful barons, 
going, coming, and plotting with them." 

When Richard Cceur-de-Lion was on his way to Syria, he 
made some stay at Marseilles before going on to Genoa, 
where he was to embark. Fulk insinuated himself into his 
good graces. His power as a singer and poet, the tender, 
passionate, and sensual pictures he drew of love, charmed the 
hot-blooded prince. Fulk was already in favour with Al- 
phonso II., king of Aragon, Alphonso VII., king of Castille, 
and Raymond V*, count of Toulouse. But he chiefly attached 
himself to Barral de Beaux, seigneur of Marseilles, with whose 
wife he was enamoured \ and he resided in the court of this 
nobleman, enjoying his hospitality and making love to his 

Fulk was married, but his wife was sorely neglected. 
Azalais de Roche Martine, wife of Barral de Beaux, was the 
subject of his tenderest lays. 

292 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 25. 

ProvQn9al traditions diverge as to the result of his suit of 
this lady. According to one account, he could "janaais 
trouver merci, ne obtenir aucun bien en droit d*amour" 
from the object of his passion ; and, in disgust, he turned 
to make love to Laura de Saint Jorlan, sister of de Beaux, 
a lady remarkable for her beauty and grace. But the 
other account is that he made love to both ladies at once, 
and that Azalais cast him off because she found that his 
fickle heart was already turning to the fresher charms of 
Laura, and that she could not retain him, though she 
had accorded him every favour. Anyhow, he made his 
rejection by Azalais the subject of poetical laments, and 
prosecuted with vigour his siege of the heart and virtue of 
his patron's sister. And then he pursued with the same 
ardour the conquest of Eudoxia, wife of William, count of 

Azalais died, and shortiy after her, died also Barral de 
Beaux, her husband. Richard Cceur-de-Lion was already 
dead, so were his patrons, Alphonso of Aragon, and Ray- 
mond of Toulouse. His youth was past, his locks were 
tinged with grey, the fires of amorous passion began to grow 
cold. His ambition was unsated with the conquest of a name 
a§ a sweet singer, and some triumphs in love. He deter- 
mined to push his fortunes in another career. 

He retired from the world, made his profession in the 
monastery of Toronet in Provence, of the Order of Citeaux, 
.and was elected abbot in 1 200. 

Five years later he was appointed to the episcopal see of 
Toulouse, which he occupied till 1231, the year of his 

He was bishop during the war against the Albigenses, and 
against his own flock he exercised the ferocity of a wolf 
rather than the tenderness of a shepherd. "There is no act 
of treachery or cruelty throughout the war, in which the 

Dec. 25.] 

S. Fulk. 293 

bishop of Toulouse was not the most forward, sanguinary, 
unscrupulous." ^ 

The historian of his life, in the " Histoire Litteraire de la 
France," says of him : " After having given half of his life to 
gallantry, he gave up, without restraint, the remainder of his 
life to the cause of tyranny, murder, and spoliation, and un- 
happily he profited by it. . . . Loving women passionately, 
a ferocious apostle of the Inquisition, he did not give up the 
composition of verses which bore the impress of his succes- 
sive passions." 

In Toulouse he organized a strong confraternity to root 
out with armed force the heretics, usurers, and Jews. They 
attacked, and in their religious zeal pillaged and demolished 
houses, and enriched themselves with the spoil. Raymond, 
count of Toulouse, was in arms against Simon de Montfort,. 
who invaded Provence under the banner of the Cross to 
carve out for himself and his needy followers a principality. 
Fiilk hastened to his camp to bless his undertaking and to 
exult at the chastisement of the heretics as it took place 
before his eyes, under the remorseless sword of the crusader. 
We need not follow the details of this hideous and wicked 
war, and see the bishop steep in blood and infamy his 
sacred office. He was at the fourth council of the Lateran, 
1 2 15, to goad on the wavering Innocent III. to the destruc- 
tion of the count of Toulouse, whom Fulk hated with deadly 

The bishop and Guy de ^lontfort together plundered 
Toulouse. The people rose in revolt and expelled them. 
De Montfort again forced his way within the walls, and was 
again repelled, after having set the city on fire in many 
places. Then Bishop Fulk offered mediation. " I swear 
by God and the holy Virgin, and the body of the Redeemer, 
by my whole Order, the abbot, and other dignitaries, that I 

1 Milman, " Latin Christianity/' b. ix. c. 8. 

294 ' Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 25. 

give you good counsel, better have I never given. If 
the count inflict on you the least WTong, bring your com- 
plaints before me, and God and I will see you righted." 
The citizens, trusting the word of their bishop, consented to 
give hostages of good conduct and restore the prisoners 
they had taken, and even to surrender their arms. No 
sooner were they in his power than De Montfort extorted 
from the citizens 30,000 marks of silver, demolished the 
walls of the city, and systematically plundered it house by 
house. , 

After the treaty by which Raymond VII., count of 
Toulouse, surrendered his principality, he remained with the 
barren dignity of sovereign, but without a voice in the fate 
of a large though concealed part of his subjects. Bishop 
Fulk of Toulouse, as far as actual power, was master of the 
land, and he held it crushed into subjection and misery by 
means of his council, the Inquisition. Heresy could no longer 
hold itself erect, and be professed without fear by the nobles 
of the land. The Inquisition of Toulouse under Fulk " drew 
up a code of procedure, a Christian code, of which the base 
was a system of delation, at which the worst of the pagan 
emperors might have shuddered as iniquitous ; in which the 
sole act deserving of mercy might seem to be the Judas-like 
betrayal of the dearest and most familiar friend, of the kins- 
man, the parent, the child." ^ 

Fauriel says of Fulk's poetic abilities : " Among the best 
troubadours, there is perhaps not one who surpasses Fulk 
of Marseilles in delicacy of spirit, in elegance, and artifice of 
diction. But one already perceives through this elegance 
and artifice, the signs of the decadence of Provencal poetry." 

1 Milman, b. xi. c. i ; the forms of procedure in Martene and Durand, Thesaurus 
Anecdot. T. V. " Their authenticity is beyond dispute. Nothing that the sternest 
or most passionate historian has revealed, nothing that the most impressive romance 
writer could have imagined, can surpass the cold systematic treachery and cruelty of 
these, so called, judicial formularies." 

D.OS.) ■5'- F^^k. 295 

Fulk died on the fesrival of the Nativity of Him who 
came to bring " peace on earth, and good-will to men." 
He is placed by Dante in Paradise.^ The poet was surely 
not quite right when he makes the minstrel bishop say of 
himself in life, " I did bear impression of this heaven, that 
now bears mine," 

296 Lives of the Saints. p>ec. 36, 

December 26. 

S. Stephen, D.M. at yertisalem ; a.d. 33. 

S. DioNYSius, Po^ at Rome; a.d. 269. 

S. Marinus, M. at Rome; a.d. 282. 

S. Zeno, B. ofMajuma; \th cent. 

S. ZosiMUS, Pope at Rome ; a.d. 418. 

S. Jarlath, B. of Tuam in Ireland: circ. a.d. 560. 

S. Ildefonsus, B. 0/ Toledo ; a.d. 667. 

(A.D. 33.) 

[Roman and all Western Martyrologies. Not the old Roman Kalen- 
dar of the middle of the 4th cent., but the Carthaginian Kalendar of 
the 5th cent. ' In the Glagolitic Kalendar of the nth cent, on Sept. 
15 ; also in the Moscow Kalendar, and the great Russian Menology 
published at Moscow, 1850 ; also the Greek Menseas. A commemo- 
ration of S. Stephen in the Greek Menaea of the Milan Library, and 
that published by Sismondi, on Nov. 19 ; in the same Menaeas on Dec. 
II, **in Constantianis ;" on Jan. 11, **in Placidianis," in the same. 
On Dec. 27 all Eastern Menaeas and Menologies. On Aug. 2 the 
translation of the relics of S. Stephen.] 

N the Apostolic Constitutions, a work of the end 
of the 2nd or 3rd century, the festival of S. 
Stephen is mentioned, but not that of the Nativity, 
for the commemoration of the birth of Christ 
was of later institution. But S. Gregory of Nyssa, in the 
4th century, united this feast with that of the Nativity. 
" See, beloved ! we celebrate one festival after another. 
Yesterday the Lord of the Universe feasted us, and to-day 
the follower of Christ feeds us. How so ? Christ put on 
for us manhood, Stephen put it ofif for Christ. Christ, for 

Dec. 26.J 

5". Stephen, 297 

us, came down into the valley of life, Stephen for Christ de- 
parted out of it. Christ was wrapped for us in napkins, and 
Stephen for Christ was covered with stones." There is a 
fragment of Asterius on this festival. Eusebius also men- 
tions it. It is curious that there should be no commemora- 
tion of S. Stephen in the old Roman Kalendar, published by 
Bucherius, which belongs to the middle of the 4th century, 
but which does give the Feast of the Nativity. The festival 
of the Nativity was conveyed from the West to the East, 
and that of S. Stephen followed the reverse course. In the 
sacramentary of S. Leo we find this festival. Its extension 
in the Western Church was probably due to the discovery 
of the relics of S. Stephen in 415, after which, but not before, 
do we meet with the commemoration in the West. It ap- 
pears in the Kalendar of Ptolemy Sylvius, written in 448. 
S. Stephen was the chief of the seven deacons appointed by 
the apostles to assist them in the daily ministrations, and to 
attend to the relief of the widows. His Greek name, signi- 
fying a wreath, indicates his Hellenistic origin. His impor- 
tance is stamped on the narrative by a reiteration of empha- 
tic phrases. He was " full of faith and of the Holy Ghost," ^ 
" full of faith, and power," ^ his " wisdom and spirit " mani- 
fested by his speech were irresistible.^ He is said to have 
performed great wonders and miracles. 

He was arrested at the instigation of the Hellenistic Jews 
and brought before the Sanhedrim.* His eloquent speech 
cut his hearers to the heart, and he was cast out of the court 
and stoned to death.*^ In the midst of his passion, he saw 
heaven opened and our Lord standing at the right hand of 
the Father^ risen, as it were, out of His seat, to welcome His 
first martyr.® The person who took the lead in his death 
was Saul of Tarsus, and the answer to the prayer of Stephen 

* Acts vi. 5. ' Acts vi. lo. * Acts vii. 58. 

^ Acts vi. 8. * Acts vi. 12. • Acts vii. 55. 

2 98 L ives of the Saints, pec. 26. 

for his murderers was the conversion of Saul the Persecutor 
into Paul the Apostle. According to the earliest traditions, 
the martyrdom took place outside the Damascus gate of 
Jerusalem, that very gate through which Saul was one day 
to pass to his miraculous conversion. But the later tradi- 
tion is that the site of the death was outside the gate now 
called the Gate of S. Stephen. 

The narrative of the discovery of the relics of S. Stephen 
in 415, by Lucian,.priest of Capharmajala, and John, patri- 
arch of Jerusalem, is a sad story of fraud for the attainment 
of what was deemed a pious end. It is not necessary to 
tell here the humiliating tale. It is given by Marcellinus, 
chancellor of Justinian, in his Chronicle (379-534). 

Part of these pretended relics were carried by Orosus 
(A.D.418) to the island of Minorca, where they are still pre- 
served and venerated. Another portion of the relics was 
conveyed to Uzala, in Africa. But most of the bones were 
preserved in a church dedicated to him in 422 in Jerusalem. 
At Ancona, in Italy, is shown one of the stones, reddened 
with his blood, which struck him on the head. At Long- 
pont, near Paris, is a bone of the protomartyr. At Metz, a 
stone reddened with his blood, and a bottle containing his 
blood. At Halberstadt, some of his blood and two joints 
of his fingers. Some bones also at Metz. Some bones at 
S. Etienne, the Birmingham of France. Others in the 
cathedral at Vienna. 

S. Stephen, from having been stoned to death, is the 
patron of stone-cutters. In accordance with the words of 
Scripture in detailing his martyrdom, " they saw his face as 
it had been the face of an angel." ^ S. Stephen is always 
young and beardless, both in Eastern and Western art, with 
the exception of Spain, which represents him with a beard 
and with the lineaments of a man of thirty. He usually 

* Acts vi. 15. 

Dec. 26] S. Dionysius. 299 

heads the class of deacons, and sometinaes the whole body 
of martyrs. He wears the dalmatic, &c. of a deacon, 
though this is, of course, an anachronism ; he bears the 
palm and a book of the Gospels ; a stone, or several stones, 
are on his head, in his lap, in his hand, or on his book ; 
when this, his peculiar emblem, is omitted, it is difficult to 
distinguish him from S. Vincent (January 22). 

S. Stephen's Day was in the south of France called 
" Straw Day,'* from the benediction of the straw, which some 
rituals then appointed. Hence, in Germany, it was " Hafer- 
Weyhe," with the same meaning. In the North of England 
it is known as " Wrenning Day," from the custom of stoning 
a wren to death, a cruel commemoration of S. Stephen's 
martyrdom. In the South, the pigeon matches usually there 
celebrated are a relic of the old Hte. In Denmark it was 
sometimes called '* Second Christmas Day." 

(a.d. 269.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities : — S. Athan. de Sent. Dionysi. 
Euseb. H.E. lib. vii. c. 26 ; and the Liber Pontific] 

DiONYSius, probably a Calabrian, succeeded S. Sixtus on 
the throne of S. Peter. Pope Damasus was able to ascertain 
nothing more of his origin than that he was a monk before 
he was made Pope. He subdivided the parishes of Rome, 
and constituted parishes outside its walls. He denounced 
S. Dionysius of Alexandria, a prelate of the highest sanctity 
and orthodoxy, on account of some doubtful expressions, as 
a heretic, and as the forerunner of the arch-heretic, Arius. 

Dionysius replied to the Pope in a long letter, in which he 
explained his views ; and as Dionysius of Rome did not 
proceed to excommunication, he was probably . satisfied 

300 Lives of the Saints, p^ec. 26. 

with them. In 269 the fathers of the second council of 
Antioch expressed their veneration for his memory and 

Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, condemned by a 
synod for heretical opinions, and for introducing the pomp 
of pagan ceremonial into Christian worship, had staked his 
lot on the fortunes of Zenobia. 

On the fall of that princess, the bishops appealed to the 
pagan emperor, Aurelian, to expel the heretic from his see, 
Aurelian did not altogether refuse to interfere in this unpre- 
cedented case, but, with laudable impartiality, declined to 
allow the case to be examined by the declared enemies of 
Paul in the East, and referred him for trial to the bishops of 
Rome and Italy. A subtle Greek heresy could only be ad- 
judicated on by Greeks, or by Latins perfect masters of 
Greek ; and Dionysius, by birth and education, was qualified 
for this task. He passed sentence of excommunication on 

(A.D. 283.) 

[Roman MartjTology. Usuardus, Ado, Notker, Wandelbert, &c. 
Authority : — The fabulous Acts in Vincent of Beauvais, Spec. Hist, 
lib. xiii. caps. 38-40.] 

S. Marinus is said to have been a senator of Rome, 
arrested by the prefect Marcian, under the emperor Nume- 
rian. He was placed on the rack, and torn with hooks like 
a slave. He was afterwards cast on a gridiron, that he might 
be fried, but the fire went out, and a dew fell over him, and 
soothed his tortured limbs. He was next exposed to wild 
beasts, but they would not touch him. He was led a 
second time before the altars of the gods, and the idols fell, 

Dec. 26.] 

5*. Zosimus. 301 

and were broken. He was then decapitated. There is no 
evidence that Numerian persecuted. The story of Marinus 
manifestly belongs to the region of romance. 

(a.d. 418.) 

[Roman Martyrology.] 

Zosimus was a Greek, son of a certain Abraham. He was 
called to the helm of the Church on the death of Innocent I., 
in the reign of Arcadius and Honorius. 

One of the first acts of Zosimus was to annul the decisions 
of his predecessor. Innocent, on the Pelagian heresy, and to 
absolve the men whom Innocent, if he had not branded with 
an anathema, had declared deserving to be cut off from the 
communion of the faithful. 

Pelagius had drawn up an elaborate creed, which he pur- 
posed to submit to Innocent ; it touched but briefly on the 
freedom of the will and the necessity of Divine grace, and 
entered minutely with orthodox zeal into the subtle ques- 
tions of the Divinity of Christ and the nature of the God- 

Ccelestius, the friend and fellow-apostle with Pelagius of 
man's freedom of determination against the fatalism which 
Augustine was introducing into Western theology, had been 
cast out of Constantinople by the patriarch Acacius. He 
went to Rome, and threw himself at the feet of Zosimus, and 
bade him hear the case, and adjudicate on his views with im- 

A solemn hearing was appointed in the basilica of S. Cle- 
ment. Ccelestius was heard with patience, even with favour; 
and Zosimus drew up a letter to the African bishops, who 

302 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ ^g. 

had condemned the teaching of Coelestius and Pelagius, in 
which he proclaimed Coelestius orthodox, in full com- 
munion with the Catholic Church and the see of Rome, 
condemned the decision of the council of Carthage, and 
threatened the chief opponents of Pelagianism, Heros and 
Lazarus, with excommunication and deposition. A letter 
had arrived at Rome from Praylus, bishop of Jerusalem, 
written in favour of Pelagius. Zosimus not only had this read 
out before the council in S. Clement's, but also sent a second 
letter to the African Church, in which he again unhesita- 
tingly asserted the complete exculpation of Pelagius and 
Coelestius, and denounced the bishops assembled at Car- 
thage as guilty of error, drawn into it by miserable delators 
of their brethren. 

On the reception of these letters, the second of which was 
written in September, 417, the African bishops met in synod 
in Carthage, and sent a synodal letter to Pope Zosimus, de- 
claring that " the sentence against Pelagius and Coelestius, 
passed by Pope Innocent, ought to continue in force till 
both Pelagius and Coelestius had explicitly recognized the 
doctrine that we must in all our actions be sustained by the 
grace of God, by Jesus Christ, and that, not only for obtain- 
ing the knowledge, but also the practice oif righteousness, so 
that, without it, we can neither have, nor think, nor say, 
nor do anything truly holy and pious." 

The Africans sent this letter by the deacon Marcellinus, 
and Pope Zosimus answered in a letter, dated March 21, 418, 
in which he asserted that he had thoroughly examined the 
question of Pelagianism, and with his letter he sent all the 
documents on the matter to the Africans, that they also 
review their opposition, and recant. The close of the epistle 
of Zosimus, however, manifested a certain amount of hesita- 
tion in the mind of the Pope. A suspicion seems to have 
entered it, provoked by the earnest remonstrances and argu- 

Dec. 26.] 

5*. Zosimus. 303 

ments of S. Augustine, that he had been on the wrong path. 
He consented to stay all further proceedings in the affair of 

It was time for the Pope to retrace his precipitate course. 
Augustine and the African bishops had called to their aid a 
more powerful ally than even the bishop of Rome. While 
the Pope was still maintaining the orthodoxy of Pelagius, or 
had begun to waver, an imperial edict was issued from the 
court of Ravenna, peremptorily deciding on this abstruse 
question of theology. The law was dated April 30, 418, and 
in May a council of about two hundred African bishops 
assembled at Carthage to renew emphatically the condemna- 
tion of the doctrine of Pelagius and Coelestius. By the law 
of Honorius it became a crime against the State to be visited 
with civil penalties, to assert that Adam was born liable to 
death. Pelagius and Coelestius were condemned by name, 
and, without hearing or appeal, to banishment from Rome. 
Informers were invited or commanded to apprehend, to 
drag before the tribunals, and to accuse the maintainers of 
the freedom of the human will, and its power to impel man 
to live a moral life, unfatally constrained by grace. Confisca- 
tion of goods and perpetual exile were to be the lot of the 
accomplices and followers of the heresiarchs. Augustine had 
triumphed, by calling to his aid the sword of the State to 
control those whom he could not convince with pen or 

Zosimus was frightened. He hastily called Coelestius to 
reappear before him, and restate his case. But the proscribed 
fugitive, under the ban of the law, expelled from Rome, could 
not reappear. He fled, and Zosimus precipitately hasted to 
undo what he had done, and place himself in sympathy with 
the emperor. He condemned and anathematized the doc- 
trines of Pelagius and Coelestius, which he had recently de- 
clared orthodox, and excommunicated the heretics. Nor 

304 Lives of the Saints. [Dec ^ 

was' this all. He sent an encyclical letter to the bishops of 
Christendom, requiring them to sign an anathema against 
Pelagius and his disciples. Eighteen bishops alone, of those 
who received this letter, refused to condemn their fellow- 
Christians unheard. They turned against Zosimus his own 
language to the African bishops, in which he had accused 
their precipitancy and injustice in condemning these very 
men without process or trial, and appealed to the hearing 
of a general council. Among these bishops was Julian of 

Zosimus, indignant at this appeal, flung his anathema at 
Julian and the other recalcitrants. Julian's demand, how- 
ever, met at first with some favour with the emperor. But 
Augustine left no stone unturned to prevent the assembly of 
a council, of the judgment of which he was doubtful. If we 
may trust Julian, he did not disdain to use bribery to excite 
those who had the ear of the feeble Honorius to dissuade 
him from this perilous attempt. 

Before the case of Pelagianism was settled, another cause 
of misunderstanding arose between the African Church and 
the See of Rome. Apiarius, an African priest, had been 
degraded and excommunicated by his bishop, Urbanus of 
Sicca. He then went to Rome, and complained to the 
Pope, who took up his cause with much warmth, and per-' 
emptorily demanded his restoration. The African prelates 
were indignant at this interference, as it was a direct infringe- 
ment of a canon they had passed in the May council, 418, 
forbidding a priest or deacon to appeal beyond the sea 
against his bishop. Zosimus thereupon sent three legates to 
Africa, and Archbishop Aurelius of Carthage assembled a 
synod to receive them. The legates of Zosimus announced 

* He was the son of a bishop, a great friend of Augustine. He married, after he 
was in Orders, the daughter of the bishop of Beneventum, and S. PauUnus of liola 
wrote their Epithalamium. 

Dec. 26.] 

fcS. yarlath. 305 

that they purposed excommunicating Urbanus of Sicca, un- 
less he at once restored Apiarius. 

The Pope also complained of the African bishops for- 
bidding appeals to Rome, and quoted through his legates 
certain canons of Sardica, which he pretended had been 
passed at Nicaea. The bishops assembled could not find 
the canons in their copies of the decrees of Nicaea, and 
were perplexed. They wrote to Rome to state their diffi- 
culty, requesting the Pope to examine the copies of the 
canons of Nicaea at Rome, and they wrote to Antioch, 
Alexandria, "and Constantinople, to obtain copies of the 
Greek version of the canons. In the meantime, in defe- 
rence to the Pope, Apiarius was, on his own petition, so far 
restored that his rank of priest was allowed him, but he was 
forbidden to officiate in the Church of Sicca. 

The answer of the African bishops did not reach Rome 
till Zosimus was dead- 

(about a.d. 560.) 

[Irish Martyrologies ; also on June 6. Authority : — A Life in Colgan 
on Feb. ii, on which day S. Jarlath of Armagh was commemorated.] 

S. Jarlath was the son of Lugh, of the noble house of 
Conmacnie, in Galway, now the barony of Downamore. 
He was born about the beginning of the sixth century or the 
end of the fifth. He founded a monastery at Cluainfois, the 
site of which cannot now be identified. Among his dis- 
ciples was Colman, son of Lenine, who died about 60 1. By 
the advice, apparently, of S. Brendan of Clonfert, Jarlath 
moved to Tuam, was consecrated bishop, and made that the 
seat of his bishopric. Some curious prophecies of his rela- 


3o6 Lives of the Saints, pec. 26. 

tive to his successors in the see have been handed down ; 
but they are probably not by Jarlath. The date of his death 
is not known with anything approaching to certainty. He 
was' buried at Tuam, not in the cathedral, but in the chapel 
caUed Serin or Shrine. 


(a.d. 667.) 

[Roman Martyrology Jan. 23 ; his Life having been omitted on that 
day, is given here.] 

S. Ildefonsus, or Hildephonsus, was abbot of Agali, in 
Spain. He embraced the religious life at an early age, and 
founded a convent for virgins with his patrimony. On the 
death of Eugenius IL, bishop of Toledo, he was compul- 
sorily elevated to that see, a.d. 658, and occupied it during 
nine years and two months. He died on January 23, 667, 
and was buried in the church of S. Leocadia, at the feet of 
his predecessor. He left several works, but of them only 
one, on the virginity of our Lady, has been preserved. 
This was written in opposition to those who taught that the 
B. Virgin was the real wife of S. Joseph, and bore him 
children after the birth of our Lord. An absurd legend is 
told of him in reference to this treatise, given already in this 

He wrote epitaphs and epigrams, and continued the cata- 
logue of illustrious men made by S. Isidore of Seville. 

A second treatise on the virginity of the Virgin Mary, 
and some sermons attributed to him, have been rejected by 
scholars, as not his. 

Relics at Toledo. 

Dec. 27.] •5^- John the Divine. 307 

December 27. 

S. John the Divine, Ap. at Ephesus ; circ. a.d. loi. 
S. Maximus, B. of Alexandria; a.d. 281. 

SS. Theodore, C, and Theophanes;^.C. at Constantinople atid 
Niata ; gth cent. 


(about A.D. IOI.) 

[Roman Martyrology, and all Western and Eastern Kalendars. In 
ancient Kalendars not as " Natalis," but as ** Transitus " or ** Assumptio 
S. Johannis Evangelistse." The Carthaginian Kalendar of the 5th 
cent. In the "Missale Gothicum" with the commemoration of S. 
James, his brother, on the following day. By the Greeks on May 8, 
not on Dec. 27. In the prologue to the Menology of Moscow is added, 
'* On the same day the collection of sacred dust, i.e. of manna flowing 
from his tomb." This miracle, or rather myth, is celebrated also on May 8 
by the Copts. June 20, the Translation of the Tunic of S. John to 
Constantinople. A memorial of S. John also on July 10 in some Greek 
Menaeas. The dedication of the church of S. John the Evangelist at 
Constantinople, near St. Sophia, on Aug. 2. The Translation of the 
Apostle John on Sept. 26. In all Latin Martyrologies ** S. John before 
the Latin Gate" on May 6.] 

. JOHN the Divine was the son of Zebedee, and 
his mother's name was Salome.^ They lived on 
the shores of the sea of Galilee. The brother 
of S. John, probably considerably older, was S. 
James. The mention of the "hired servants," ^ and of S. 
John's ** own home,'' ^ implies that the condition of Salome 
and her children was not one of great poverty. 

' Matt. iv. 21, xxvii. 56 ; Mark xv. 40, xvi. i. ' Mark i. 20. 

' John xix. 27. 

3o8 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 27. 

SS. John and James followed the Baptist when he preached 
repentance in the wilderness of Jordan. There can be little 
doubt that the two disciples, whom S. John does not name 
(i. 35), who looked on Jesus " as he walked/* when the 
Baptist exclaimed with prophetic perception, " Behold the 
Lamb of God ! " were Andrew and John. They followed 
and asked the Lord where He dwelt. He bade them come 
and see, and they abode with him all day. Of the subject 
of conversation that took place in this interview no record 
has come to us, but it was probably the starting-point of the 
entire devotion of heart and soul which lasted through the 
life of the Beloved Apostle. 

John apparently followed his new Master to Galilee, and 
was with him at the marriage feast of Cana, journeyed with 
Him to Capernaum, and thenceforth never left Him, save 
when sent on the missionary expedition with another, in- 
vested with the power of healing. He, James, and Peter, 
came within the innermost circle of their Lord's friends, and 
these three were suffered to remain with Christ when all the 
rest of the apostles were kept at a distance.^ Peter, James, 
and John were with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. 
The mother of James and John, knowing our Lord's love 
for the brethren, made special request for them, that they 
might sit, one on His right hand, the other on His left, in 
His kingdom.* There must have been much impetuosity in 
the character of the brothers, for they obtained the nick- 
name of Boanerges, Sons of Thunder.^ It is not necessary 
to dwell on the familiar history of the Last Supper and the 
Passion. To John was committed by our Lord the highest 
of privileges, the care of His mother. John and Peter were 
the first to receive the news from the Magdalene of the 
Resurrection, and they hastened at once to the sepulchre, 

' Mark, r. 37 ; Matt. xvii. i, xxvi. 37. ' Matt. xx. ai. 

' Mark, iii. 17. 

i>ec. 27.] S. John the Divine. 309 

and there when Peter was restrained by awe, John impetu- 
ously "came first to the sepulchre.'* 

In the interval between the Resurrection and the Ascen- 
sion, John and Peter were together on the Sea of Galilee,^ 
having returned to their old calling, and old familiar haunts. 

When Christ appeared on the shore in the dusk of morn- 
ing, John was the first to recognize Him. The last words of 
the Gospel reveal the attachment which existed between the . 
two apostles. It was not enough for Peter to know his own 
fate, he must learn also something of the future that awaited 
his friend.* The Acts show us them still united, eijtering 
together as worshippers into the Temple,^ and protesting 
together against the threats of the Sanhedrim.* They were 
fellow-workers together in the first step of Church expansion. 
The apostle whose wrath had been kindled at the unbelief 
of the Samaritans, was the first to receive these Samaritans 
as brethren.*^ 

He probably remained at Jerusalem till the death of the 
Virgin, though tradition of no great antiquity or weight 
asserts that he took her to Ephesus. When he went to 
Ephesus is uncertain. He was at Jerusalem fifteen years 
after S. Paul's first visit there.^ There is no trace of his 
presence there when S. Paul was at Jerusalem for the last 

Tradition, more or less trustworthy, completes the history. 
Irenaeus says that S. John did not settle at Ephesus till after 
the death of SS. Peter and Paul, and this is probable. He 
certainly was not there when S. Timothy was appointed 
bishop of that place. S. Jerome says that he supervised and 
governed all the Churches in Asia. He probably took up 
his abode finally in Ephesus in 97. In the persecution of 
Domitian he was taken to Rome, and was placed in a 

' John xxi. 1. ' John xxi. 21. • Acts iii. 1. 

< Acts iv. 13. * Acts viii. 14. • Acts xv. 6. 

3 1 o L ives of the Saints. [Dec. 27. 

cauldron of boiling oil, outside the Latin gate, without 
the boiling fluid doing him any injury.^ He was sent to 
labour at the mines in Patmos. At the accession of Nerva 
he was set free, and returned to Ephesus, and there it is 
thought that he wrote his gospel. Of his zeal and love com- 
bined we have examples in Eusebius, who tells, on the 
authority of Irenseus, that S. John once fled out of a bath on 
hearing that Cerinthus was in it, lest, as he asserted, the roof 
should fall in, and crush the heretic. On the other hand, he 
showed the love that was in him. He commended a young 
man in whom he was interested to a bishop, and bade him 
keep his trust well. Some years after he learned that the 
young man had become a robber. S. John, though very old, 
pursued him among the mountain fastnesses, and by his 
tenderness recovered him. 

In his old age, when unable to do more, he was carried 
into the assembly of the Church at Ephesus, and his sole ex- 
hortation was, " Little children, love one another." 

The date of his death cannot be fixed with anything like 
precision, but it is certain that he lived to a very advanced 

* Eusebius makes no mention of this. The legend of the boiling oil occurs in 
Tertullian and in S. Jerome. 

Dec. 28.] The Holy Innocents. 3 1 1 

December 28. 

The Holy Innocents, MM. at Bethlehem. 

S. Troas, M. at Neocasarea ; a.d. 250. 

SS. Indus, M., Domna, Agape, and Theophila, VV.MM. at 

Nicomedta ; a.d. 303. 
S. Antony, Mk. at Lerins; circ. a.d. 523. 
S. CONVOYON, Ab. o/RhedoK in Brittany ; circ. a.d. 868. 


[Roman Martyrology and a]l Western Martyrologies. Also in all 
Greek Menseas and Menologies.] 

HE commemoration of the Holy Innocents seems 
to have been instituted very early. It is men- 
tioned by S. Irenseus,^ S. Cyprian,^ S. Gregory 
Nazianzen,^ and S. Chrysostom."* Origen, or who- 
ever was the author of the third homily, "de diversis," says, 
that " their memorial has continually been observed, accord- 
ing to their deserving, in the Church, and that the first 
martyrs went forth from Bethlehem, where Christ was 

But. the obser\^ance of this day was in the earliest time 
bound up with that of the Epiphany. Pope Leo I., in 
almost all his sermons on the Epiphany, refers to the Inno- 
cents. But in his Sacramentary, the Mass of the Children of 
Bethlehem follows immediately aftef that of S. John, under 
the title " In natali Innocentium." It is, however, question- 
able if we have this Sacramentary in its most ancient form. 
The two hymns in the Roman Breviary for this day are 
centos from the hymn of Prudentius on the Epiphany. 

' Adv. Hares. 1. iii. c. 38. ' Epist. 56. ' Serm. 38, In Nativ. 

* Homil. ix. In Matth. 

312 L ives of the Saints. [d^c. as. 

Hrabanus Maurus composed a hymn for the festival. Ac- 
cording to the Responsoriale of S. Gregory the Great, 
this day was observed with mourning, the " Te Deum/' 
was omitted from the office, and the " Gloria in excelsis," 
the " Alleluia," and " Ite, missa est," were not used in the 
mass. Amalarius attributes this regulation to the composer 
of the Antiphonary, for he says : " The author of this office 
would have us sympathize with the feelings of the pious 
women who wept and sorrowed at the death of their innocent 
children."^ Micrologus gives another reason ; " With right 
are the sufferings of the Holy Innocents attended with less 
festivity than the celebration of other saints, for, though they 
were crowned with martyrdom, they went at once, not into 
Paradise, but into Limbo." 

In Rome meat was forbidden on this day.* The colours 
for the vestments on the feast of the Holy Innocents are to 
this day purple, as in Lent and Advent, except when the day 
coincides with the Sunday after Christmas, when the red 
of martyrdom overrides the purple of mourning. 

Skulls of the Holy Innocents were among the relics shown 
at Paris, in Notre Dame, at S. Denis, and in the church of 
the Augustines at Limoges. 

The council of Cognac, in 1260, forbids dancing in 
churches on the feast of the Innocents. It was observed in 
the Middle Ages as the feast of Fools, when a child, or 
sometimes a clown, was elected bishop, and profane mockery 
of religious rites usurped the place of sacred services in the 

The heathen Saturnalia took, place on December 17th, 
and no doubt held a strong place in the habits and affections 
of the people of the empire. In the Saturnalia the slaves 
took the place of the masters, and acted without restraint. 
The festival of the Sigillaria was afterwards combined with 

* Eccl. Offic, lib. i. c. 41. ' Ord. Roman. Benedicti, Can. N. 26. 

Dec. 280 ^^^ ^^h Innocents. 3 1 3 

that of the Saturnalia, and so the mad frolic was extended to 
a week. Lucian makes Saturn say during the Saturnalia, 
" During my reign of a week, no one may attend to his 
business, but only to drinking, singing, playing, making 
imaginary kings, placing servants at table with their masters, 

Cedrenus says that in the tenth century, Theophylact, 
patriarch of Constantinople, introduced this festival into the 
Church.^ In cathedral churches in France and Italy, a 
bishop and archbishop of fools were elected, and the election 
was confirmed with much buffoonery, which was a caricature 
of ordination. After which the prelates were vested, and 
gave solemn benediction to the people, holding pastoral staflf 
or archiepiscopal crozier. But in exempt churches (i,e, 
churches depending immediately on the Holy See), a pope 
of fools was chosen, amidst similar buffoonery. 

These pontiffs were assisted by the clergy. Priests and 
clerks performed all manner of impieties during the divine 
service, some masked, or with their faces painted, others 
dressed as women. Priests and clerks danced in the choir, 
and sang obscene songs. The deacons and subdeacons ate 
cakes and sausages at the altar, played cards and dice on it, 
and made offensive odours issue from the censer. 

After the mass was ended, everyone ran, jumped, and 
danced about the church ; some stripped themselves naked, 
and were drawn about the streets in a manure cart, and 
pelted the people with dung. At intervals the cart stopped 
and those within evoked laughter by their indecent postures. 

Beleth, doctor of theology of Paris, in 11 82, wrote that 
the feast of Fools and Subdeacons was celebrated by some 
on the Circumcision, by others on the Epiphany. He adds 

* Balbamon complained more than two hundred years after, in his commentary 
on the 62nd Canon of the Council " In Tnillo/' of the abominations committed in the 
church of Constantinople, on the feast of the Epiphany. 

314 L ives of the Saints. pec, 28. 

that during Christmas four dances took place in the churches 
— one of the deacons, another of the priests, a third of the 
choir-boys, and the fourth of the subdeacons. In some 
churches, he says, at this time the bishops or archbishops 
join in the revel, and play dice, ball, tennis, and other games ; 
that they dance and make merriment for their clergy in 
their cathedrals, and in the monasteries before the monks ; 
and that this diversion was called the Liberty of December. 

A circular letter written by the university of Paris to the 
bishops of France in 1444, states that whilst divine service 
was proceeding, the ecclesiastics of the churches attended, 
dressed with masks, or disguised as women, elected a bishop 
or archbishop of fools, made him give benediction to those 
who sang the lessons of matins, and to the people ; that they 
danced in the choir and sang indecent songs, ate meat at 
the altar whilst the celebrant was proceeding with mass, and 
burned their old shoes in the censers, with which they 
incensed the Host and the book of the Gospels. 

In a MS. of the cathedral of Sens, the Office of Fools is 
preserved as said in that church. It is unnecessary to enter 
into further particulars of this infamous custom.^ 

(A.D. 868.) 

[On this day in the Gallican Martyrologies, and in the Benedictine 
Martyrology, but at Quimper on Jan. 5 . Authority : — A very curious 
Life, which has lost its beginning, by a disciple of the saint ; also a 
brief Life written in the nth cent. Both in Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. 
ssec. iv. pt. 2.] 

S. CoNVOYON, first abbot of Rhedon, was born of noble 
parents at Comblessac, near S. Malo, and was brought 
up at Vannes under Reginald, the bishop, who ordained 

* See for full particulars Du Tilliot, " Memoires pour servir k THistoire de la Fete 
des Foux," Lausanne, 1741. 

Dec. 28.] 

S. Convoyon, 315 

him deacon, and afterwards priest. Five clerks placed 
themselves under his direction — Condeloc, born of a Sun- 
day, baptized of a Sunday, ordained priest of a Sunday, 
and said afterwards to have died of a Sunday ; Lohemel, a 
lawyer, said never to have lost a suit ; Gwenkals, the White- 
Heart, as his name signifies, and two others of less note- 
These five went to a forest near the river Vilaine, and 
established themselves at Rhedon. This foundation is 
placed in 832. The lord of that district was called 
Rathwyl : he favoured the new monastery in every way, 
and gave a son to be educated in it. When he was ill and 
thought himself dying, he had himself carried to the monas- 
tery, and his hair cut off after the monastic pattern. He 
recovered, and returned to his castle to arrange his affairs 
and then came back to Rhedon and died there, 835.^ But 
S. Convoyon met with some difficulty in getting a confirma- 
tion of the grants made him. In 832 he went to the castle 
of Joac in Limousin, to meet Louis the Pious, and entreat 
his consent to the conveyance to his monastery in per- 
petuity of the land that had been given him by Rath- 
wyl. But Ricovinus, count of Nantes, and Rainar, bishop of 
Vannes, opposed this so strenuously, that Louis refused, and 
Convoyon was driven with contumely from the presence of 
the king. 

Convoyon, unabashed, took the occasion of Louis passing 
through Tours on his way back from Aquitaine, to make 
another attempt. He took with him a disciple named 
Cwmdeluc, and travelled in the suite of some Breton nobles 
who were going to meet the king on affairs of their own. 
Convoyon took with him a considerable amount of wax, 
obtained from his bees at Rhedon, and which he intended to 

* He gave his wooden house to the monastery. ** Dederat domum suam ex 
tabellis ligneis fabricatam pro anima sua Sanctis monachis : et idcirco transmissus 
fuit raonachus ut earn colligeret, et cum plaustris ac bobus ad monasterium deferret." 

3x6 Lives of the Saints, \ [^ec. 28. 

present to Louis. But he was refused admission. He accord- 
ingly bade Cwmdeluc go into the market and sell the wax. 

The unfortunate monk met there with an adventure. A 
woman of somewhat disreputable character no sooner saw 
him in the market, than she exclaimed, in the spirit of mis- 
chief, " My dearest friend ! Here you are again ! What an 
age it is since we met ! Do you not remember how we were 
brought up together in one house and family, and how often 
my mother scrubbed your head, and how we used to sleep 
in one little crib together? Come home with me."^ No 
wonder that at this address, the poor monk turned first 
crimson and then all colours.^ She caught him by the arm, 
and attempted to drag him home, the market women taking 
her part, when suddenly a swarm of monks rushed out of the 
adjoining monastery of S. Martin and carried off the trembling 
Cwmdeluc from the hands of the women. 

Some little time after the return of Convoyon, Nominoe, 
governor of Brittany, visited Rhedon and encouraged Con- 
voyon to make another attempt. He was going to send a 
deputation to the king at Thionville, and Convoyon was at 
liberty to go with it. In the meantime he gave to the abbot 
Ros the tongue of land between the rivers Vilaine and 
Oulte. The bishop Rainar, who was now reconciled with 
Convoyon, was present and signed the act of donation. Wor- 
woret, a nobleman present, also witnessed the transaction. 
This Worworet was sent on the deputation to the emperor 
Louis, and the abbot of Rhedon accompanied him. At court, 
Hermor, bishop of Aleth,and Felix, bishop of Quimper, urged 
his cause, and Louis acceded to their request, and confirmed 
the grants of land made to Convoyon, November 27, 834. 

- " Unde venis, amice carissime ? ubi per tot annos latuisti ? indica mihi. Recor- 
dare quoniam nutriti sumus in una domo et in una famiUa. Frequenter namque 
abluit genitrix mea caput tuum, et saepe in uno stratu jacuimus." 

, • ** Cumque ille sancttTs haec verba diabolica audisset, statim erubuit, et vultus 
ejus in diversis coloribus mutatus est." 

Dec. 28.J 

vS. Convoy 071, 317 

The disciple of Convoyon who wrote his Life has left u& 
a pleasing and life-like set of portraits of the principal monks 
of his monastery. There was Brother Conleduc, who kept 
the garden, and who, in despair one day at seeing his cabbages 
covered with caterpillars, cried out, " O worms ! what is to 
be done? I cannot call together a legion of gardeners to pick 
you off my plants. I must call God to my aid." Whereupon 
the caterpillars fled precipitately from the garden. There 
was Fritwen, who had come for a little while, but whose 
sweetness and piety so won on all the community that they 
could uot bear to let him go back to his hermitage, and so to 
please them he stayed till he died of cancer. Fritwen healed 
the biographer, when a boy, of toothache. The writer says 
that his cheek was swollen, and his tooth had been so 
troublesome that he could neither eat nor sleep, but when 
Fritwen stroked it, the pain went away. There was also 
Doethen, who wanted to run. away and return to the world, 
but was arrested by a paralytic stroke. There were others 
whom the biographer of Convoyon delighted to recall. 

The monastery of Rhedon was built, audits church erected, 
but it was without one very important adjunct. There was 
no saintly corpse under its altar to act as palladium to the 
monastery and work miracles to attract pilgrims to it. To 
remedy this deficiency, Convoyon went to Angers with two of 
his monks, Hildemar and Lonkemel, and lodged with a 
certain pious man named Hildwald. Their host asked them 
the object of their visit and stay in Angers. 

After some hesitation, and after exacting a promise of 
secrecy, Convoyon told him that they had come on a body- 
snatching expedition, and asked him to advise them what 
relics to secure. He told them that Angers enjoyed the 
possession of the bones of S. Apothemius, a bishop, of whom 
indeed nothing certain was known except that he was a 
saint. He lay in a stone coffin with a heavy lid to it. 

3 1 8 L ives of the Saints, ^Dec. 28. 

Hildwald added that several monks and envoys of other 
churches had tried to steal the body, but had not been 

Convoyon and his monks waited three days, and one dark 
night, armed with crowbars, they went to the cathedral, got 
in, heaved up the coffin lid, after singing "praises and 
hymns," and got the bones out, and then made off with them 
as fast as they could. On reaching Langon, they sent word 
of their success to the monks of Rhedon, and the reception 
of the relics was conducted with great dignity and pomp. 
Miracles were at once wrought, and established the popu- 
larity of S. Apothemius. 

The peace of the monastery was troubled about this time. 
Some lawless nobles threatened Convoyon, and attempted 
to extort money from him. One insisted on his giving him 
five pieces of gold for the purchase of a sword : he could not 
furnish the money, and the young noble went away mutter- 
ing threats. He was killed shortly after in war, and his 
threats were never put in execution. One day the abbot 
was visiting one of his estates, when a noble named Rist- 
weten demanded of him money for the purchase of a horse 
he coveted, and Convoyon was obliged to borrow the money 
to let him have it. 

Rainar, bishop of Vannes, died in 837, and the see was 
filled in 841 by Susannus, who obtained it by simony. Con- 
voyon was filled with indignation at the prevalence of 
simony in the Church of Brittany, and he urged Nominee 
to summon a council of the bishops and abbots to consider 
how this might be remedied. In this council the canons 
against simony were read ; the bishops declared that they 
did not sell Holy Orders, and that they exacted no fees from 
those whom they ordained, but admitted that those whom 
they called to the diaconate and priesthood were wont to 
make them presents, which they accepted. The most ener- 

Dec. 28.] 

S. Convoy on, 319 

getic to maintain this right was Susannus. It was decided 
that a deputation should be sent to Rome, consisting of 
Susannus of Vannes and Felix of Quimper, and that Con- 
voyon should go with them, the bearer of a gold crown in- 
laid with jewels, which Nominoe sent to the Pope. The 
question to be submitted to the Pope was, whether a bishop 
convicted of simony, might do penance without losing his 
office, or whether he ought to be deposed. Other questions 
were asked. It would appear from them that the monks of 
Rhedon claimed the right of appointing clergy to several 
churches independent of the jurisdiction of the bishops, 
that the custom of examining the Sortes Sacrae still prevailed 
at the consecration of bishops, and that Nominoe meddled 
in the concerns of the Church in a manner which the 
bishops considered unjustifiable'. Nominoe wrote also to 
Pope Leo IV. to ask him to accept the presents he sent 
him, and to sanction a design he had formed for establish- 
ing the independence of Brittany, which was oppressed by 
the French. Leo IV. assembled the bishops at Rome and 
heard the deputation. Susannus and Felix were asked if 
they received presents when they gave ordination. They 
replied that if they had done so, it was through ignorance. 
An archbishop present, named Arsenius, said, " This reply 
does not suffice — a priest should not ignore his duties.'' 
The Pope added, " This is in conformity with the Gospel. 
Our Lord said, * If the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith 
shall it be seasoned ? ' The canons enjoin that any bishop, 
priest, or deacon who has been ordained for money, must 
be deposed along with him who ordained him." 

Leo IV. replied to the letter of the Breton bishops that a 
bishop could not be deposed except in an assembly of 
twelve bishops ; but if there were not so many to [be col- 
lected, the evidence must be substantiated by seventy-two 

3 2 o L ives of the Saints. ^^^ ^g. 

What the answer of Leo to Nominoe was, is not certain. 
The Nantes Chronicle asserts that the Pope gave him the 
title and dignity of duke, with permission to wear a gold 
coronet. He sent him as a present the body of S. Marcel- 
linus, Pope and martyr, which Convoyon took back with 
him and deposited in his church at Rhedon. Nominoe 
revolted against Charles the Bald. He penetrated into 
Poitou, and ravaged the country with sword and flame. He, 
however, respected the abbey of S. Florent, but to insult 
Charles he obliged the monks to place a statue of himself 
on their tower with the face turned defiantly towards France. 
No sooner was Nominoe gone than the monks sent to 
Charles to inform him of the insult. He ordered them to 
throw down the statue of the rebel, and in its place erect a 
white stone figure, of ludicrous appearance and mocking 
countenance, turned towards Brittany. Nominoe appeared 
to revenge this insult, before Charles appeared for the 
defence of the monks, and S. Florent was burned to the 
ground. Nominoe carried off the spoils to enrich the abbey 
of Rhedon. The successes of Nominoe and his son Erispoe 
obliged Charles the Bald to come to terms with the latter, 
and permit him jto assume the insignia of royalty, and hold 
Rennes, Nantes, and all Brittany. 

Convoyon's abbey at Rhedon, situated on a tidal river, 
was so exposed to the ravages of the Normans, that he was 
obliged to retire further inland with his monks to an asylum 
prepared for him by Erispoe in one of his castles, at Pielan. 
There Convoyan died and was buried, about a.d. ^dZ, but 
the body was afterwards removed to Rhedon. All the relics 
were dispersed in the Revolution, when the monastery was 
sacked by an apostate monk of Rhedon, at the head of a 
party of Sans-culottes. 

Dec, ,9.] ^- Trophimus. 321 

December 29. 

S. David, K. Prophet at Jerusalem ; circ, B.C. 1015. 

S. Trophimus, B. ^ Aries; istcent, 

S. Crescbns, B. ofVienKe; xstcent. 

S. Marcbllus, Ab. at Constantinople ; a.d. 488. 

S. Ebrulfus, Ah. at Ouche in France ; a.d. 596. 

S. Thomas a Bbcket, Abp. M. at Canterbury ; a.d. T170. 


(1ST CENT.) 

[Roman and Galilean Martyrologies. Usuardus, Ado, Notker, &c. 
By the Greeks on April 14 and 15, along with Aristarchus and Pudens. 
In some Menaeas on July 31, in all along with SS. Peter and Paul on 
Oct. 29. Authorities :— Acts xx. 4, xxi. 27-29 ; 2 Tim. iv. 12, 20.] 

ROPHIMUS and Tychicus, two natives of Asia 
Minor, accompanied S. Paul on his third mis- 
sionary expedition. Both of them attended S, 
Paul from Macedonia on his return journey, as 
far as Asia Minor, where Tychicus remained ; but Tro- 
phimus .proceeded with the apostle to Jerusalem. There he 
was the inn<x:ent cause of the tumult in which S. Paul was 
apprehended. From the account we have given us of this 
tumult, we learn that Trophimus was an Ephesian and a 
Gentile. We hear no more of Trophimus for a long time ; 
but in the last letter written by S. Paul, shortly before his 
martyrdom, from Rome, he mentions both Trophimus and 
Tychicus : the latter he had sent to Ephesus, of which place 
he, probably, like Trophimus, was a native ; Trophimus bad 
been left at Miletus, sick. From this we may conclude that 


322 Lives of the Saints. pec.29. 

the apostle had been shortly before in the Levant, and that 
Trophimus had accompanied him. Trophimus is probably 
one of the two brethren who, with Titus, conveyed the 
Second Epistle to the Corinthians to its destination. He 
was evidently closely attached to the apostle, and thoroughly 
in his confidence. 

The first bishop of Aries was a Trophimus, and it pleases 
the members of that Church to suppose him to have been 
this favourite disciple of S. Paul. But this is quite conjec- 
tural, and very improbable. He is also spoken of as one of 
the six companions of S. Dionysius of Paris, by S. Gregory 
of Tours, who represents that saint as having preached in 
Gaul in the middle of the third century. In the time of 
Decius, Martian, bishop of Aries, favoured the Novatian 
heresy. Martian probably was bishop in 252, and we may 
put S. Trophimus ajt 250. In 417 Pope Zosimus wrote 
letters in favour of Patroclus, bishop of Aries, to the bishops 
of Gaul, and in one of these he mentions S. Trophimus as 
having been sent by the Holy See into Gaul, and as having 
been the source of true faith there. Had he considered 
him as the disciple of S. Paul, and sent by him and S. Peter, 
he would probably have said so. The first instance of 
Trophimus of Aries being identified with Trophimus dis- 
ciple of S. Paul, is by the bishops of the province of Aries in 
450. The tradition or conceit began then to be received, 
and when their deputation waited on S. Leo in that year, 
they represented Trophimus, the founder of the see of 
Aries, as having been sent into Gaul by S. Peter. On the 
other hand, Pseudo Hippolytus says that Trophimus suffered 
martyrdom along with S. Paul. But he also makes him one 
of the seventy disciples, which could not have been. No 
Gentile was of the seventy. The Greeks regard him as 
having suffered martyrdom with SS. Peter and Paul, and 
commemorate their passion on the same day, October 29. 

Dec. 29.] 

vS. Crescens, 323 

The Roman Martyrology asserts the identity of Trophi- 
mus of Aries with Trophimus disciple of S. Paul. 


(iST CENT.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. By the Greeks on July 30. 
Authority : — 2 Tim. iv. 10.] 

Crescens, an assistant and companion of S. Paul, is said 
to Have been one of the seventy disciples, but this is most 
questionable. We may be sure that those seventy were 
Hebrews. In the Second Epistle to Timothy S. Paul says 
that Crescens is gone into Galatia. The Greeks, following 
Pseudo Hippolytus and Pseudo Dorotheus, make him bishop 
of Chalcedon, in Galatia.^ 

The reading VahXiav instead of Takaiiav in 2 Tim. 
iv. 10, has led to error. Gaul has been understood as the 
place whither Crescens was sent, and not the small 
Asiatic province of Galatia ; and so t^e has been made by 
the French first bishop of Vienne, and by the Germans 
first bishop of Mainz. Papebroch makes him found both 
Churches. There may have been a Crescens at each 
Church, but certainly not the same. The first bishop of 
Vienne of whom we know the name on historical grounds is 
Verus, in 314. Yet, that Vienne had a Church in 150 we 
know from the testimony of the letter about S. Pothinus 
and the martyrs of Lyons, given by Eusebius. The Roman 
Martyrology unhesitatingly asserts that " Crescens, disciple 
of S. Paul, was first bishop of Vienne/' 

* There does not appear to have been any such city in Galatia, that in Bithynia, 
where the fourth General Council was held, being alone noted by geographers. Nor 
does any name like it appear in the list of the sees in Galatia Prima and Secunda, 
under the metropoles Ancyra and Pessinus. The nearest is Calumene. 

324 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

(a.d. 596.) 

[Roman, Gallican, and Benedictine Martyrologies. Authority i — 
A Life by an anonymous writer in Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. saec. i. ; 
Ordericus Vitalis, Hist. Eccl. Norm. lib. vi. c. 9.] 

S. Ebrulfus, or, as he is called in France, S. Evroul, was 
bora of honourable parents at Bayeux. He went to the 
court of Clothair, and married a wife of rank equal to his 
own. But he soon wearied of life in the world, and per- 
suaded his wife to let him go into a monastery, and live as a 
monk, and to enter herself into a convent. He probably 
learned the rudiments of the religious life in the abbey of 
the Deux Jumeaux, founded by S.' Martin of Vertou (see 
October 24). After a while he left the monastery with three 
companions and went to Montfort — now S. Evroiilt de Mont- 
fort, north of Gac^. They were too much interrupted there 
to obtain the peace they desired, and therefore buried them- 
selves in the forest of Ouche and there established them- 
selves. By degrees others placed themselves under the rule 
of the saint, and the solitude became populated by monks. 
Ebrulfus was visited there by King Childebert, who richly 
endowed the monastery. His queen also built a church 
there, dedicated to our Lady, now called Notre-Dame-du- 
Bois, and placed a marble altar in it, probably an old 
sarcophagus. One day the devil was caught by S. Ebrulf 
at Echaufour, " who threw him into a fiery oven heated in 
readiness for baking bread, and closed it with an iron plug 
that he chanced to find. The women who had brought 
their loaves to be baked, seeing what was done, said, ' What, 
sir, shall we do with our loaves?' To which he replied, 
* God is able to bake your loaves without corporeal fire ; 

D^ 3^3 ^S. Thomas a Becket. 325 

clear the hearth before the oven, and lay your loaves in 
order, and you will find them bake without fire.' " And it 
was so. 


(a.d. 1 170.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Sanim, York, and Hereford Kalendars. On 
July 7, the Translation of S. Thomas. Canonized by Pope Alexander 
III. in II 73. Authorities : — (i) A Life by John of Salisbury, after- 
wards bishop of Chartres, an intimate friend of Becket. His short 
work is rather a character than a detailed Life of the archbishop. (2) A 
Life by Herbert de Bosham, secretary of Becket ; this work was written 
in 1185. (3) A volume of letters by Herbert de Bosham, written in 
the course of the quarrel of Becket' with the king. (4) A Life by 
Edward Grim, a monk who went to Canterbury to see Becket after his 
return from exile ; he was present at the murder, and received a severe 
wound in the arm while attempting to protect the archbishop. (5) A 
Passion by Benedict, abbot of Peterborough. (6) A Life by Alan, 
abbot of Tewkesbury, embodies that of John of Salisbury. He was 
monk of Canterbury and prior in 1179. In 11 86 he was made abbot of 
Tewkesbury, and died in 1202. (7) A Life by Roger of Pontigny, 
attendant on Becket during the two years he passed in that monastery. 
(8) An anonymous author, **de plurium narratione coUecta . . . . 
quam scribi fecit D. Petrus Rogerii," circ. 1370 ; this is called the Quad- 
rilogus, being compiled from four earlier writers. (9) A Life by Wil- 
liam Fitz-Stephen, a clerk of Becket's, who attended his master through 
a great part of his public life. (10) A Metrical Life by Guemes du 
Pont de S. Maxence in Picardy, written in 1 175. (i i) A Life by Henry, 
abbot of Croyland, assisted by Roger, a monk of Croyland, written in 
1220. (12) An anonymous Life by an eye-witness of many of the 
events he describes, preserved in Lambeth Library. (13) Another 
anonymous Life in the British Museum, written in 1200. (14) A Life 
by Grandison, bishop of Exeter, 1327-69, is too late to be of any value. 
(15) The Letters of S. Thomas. All the most importaiit materials for 
the Life of Becket are being published by Mr. J. Craigie Robertson in 
his ** Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Can- 
terbury," of which the third volume has not yet appeared. The Letters, 
translated into English, have been published by Dr. Giles, in his ** Life 
and Letters of Thomas 4 Becket," London, 1846. The Latin originals 

326 Lives of the Saints. ^^ ^, 

were also published by Dr. Giles, but very inaccurately. Additional 
information or l^end about S. Thomas may be gleaned from the 
chroniclers Hoveden, Radulf de Diceto, John of Brompton, &c.] 

" Among the towns, cities, and villages of England, Lon- 
don is the largest and the principal," writes a contemporary 
of Becket.^ " When the kingdom fell into the hands of the 
Normans, large numbers ilocked thither out of Rouen and 
Caen, which are the principal cities of Normandy, choosing to 
become citizens of London, because it was larger and better 
stored with merchandise in which they used to traffic. 
Among these was one Gilbert, sumamed Becket, bom at 
Rouen, and distinguished among his citizens for the respec- 
tability of his birth, the energy of his character, and the easy 
independence of his fortune. His family was creditable, but 
belonged to the class of citizens. He was industrious in com- 
merce, and managed his household in a creditable manner, 
and suitably to his station in life ; whilst among his fellow- 
citizens he was known for a worthy man, and without re- 
proach. His wife was Rose [Rohesia], a lady of Caen, also 
of respectable civic family, fair in person, and fairer still in 
conduct, an able mistress over her household, and, saving 
her duty to God, an obedient and loving wife." 

" This was the manner of S. Thomas's birth," says Fitz- 
Stephen, another contemporary. " His father was Gilbert, 
sheriff of London, and his mother's name was Matilda. Both 
were citizens of the middle class, who neither made money 
by usury nor practised any trade> but lived respectably on 
their income." Herbert de Bosham describes him as " bom in 
the flesh of one Gilbert, and his mother's name was Matilda." 

But popular poetry, after the sanctification of Becket, de- 
lighted in adorning the early history of the saint with 
romance. It invented, or rather interwove with the pedigree 
of the martyr, one of those romantic traditions which grew 

^ Anon. Lambeth. 

Dec. 29.] S. Thomas a Becket. 327 

out of the wild adventures of the Crusades, and which occur 
in various forms in the ballads of all nations. 

The father of Becket, so runs the tale, was a gallant 
soldier of the Cross in Palestine. He was there taken cap- 
tive, and inspired the daughter of his master with an ardent 
attachment. Through her means he made his escape, but 
the enamoured princess could not endure life without him. 
She, too, fled, and made her way to Europje. She had learned 
but two words of the Frank tongue, ** Gilbert " and " Lon- 
don." With these two magic sounds on her lips she reached 
London; and as she wandered through the streets, constantly- 
repeating the name of Gilbert, she was met by Beckefs 
faithful servant. Becket, as a good Christian, seems to have 
entertained scruples about an honourable union with the 
faithful, but misbelieving maiden. The case was submitted 
to the highest authority, and argued before the bishop of 
London. The issue was the baptism of the princess, by the 
name of Matilda (that of the empress-queen), and their mar- 
riage was solemnized in S. Paul's, with the utmost publicity 
and splendour. 

It is enough to say of this wondrous tale, that not one of 
the seven or eight contemporary biographers of Becket men- 
tions it, and that the Lambeth anonymous writer distinctly 
says that the wife of Gilbert was of a burgher family in Caen,^ 
and Fitz-6tephen, an officer in the chancery 'court of S. 
Thomas, and dean of his chapel, confirms this by saying that 
both his parents were of the middle class, and William, 
sub-prior of Canterbury, says that he was " the illustrious 
son of middle-class parents." 

The father of the saint was no knight errant, but a sober 
Rouen citizen, who settled in London for its commercial 
advantages. His mother was no Saracen maiden of princely 

1 He says her name was Rohesia ; one of the sisters of Thomas it Becket was also 
called Rohesia. 

328 L ives of the Saints. p)^. ^9. 

rank, but the daughter of an honest burgher of Caen. His 
Norman descent is still further confirmed by his claim of re- 
lationship, or connection at least, as of common Norman 
descent, with Archbishop Theobald. The saint, in one of his 
epistles, speaks of his parents as of citizen stock, and he 
says that his father's fortune was injured by fires and other 

John of Salisbury says that the future archbishop learned 
from his mother ** the fear of the Lord, and the reverence 
due to Christ's mother, the holy Virgin Mary, whom, next to 
her Divine Son, he adopted as his patroness, frequently in- 
voking her name, and placing all his trust in her." 

The fond parent of Thomas k Becket used to connect her 
little boy in a singular and whimsical manner with her deeds 
of charity. She weighed him at stated times, placing in the 
opposite scale bread, meat, and clothing, until they equalled 
the weight of the child, when she made distribution thereof 
to the poor. 

Rohesia, or Matilda Becket, died when Thomas was 
twenty-one years old, and he was left to the charge of his 
father only. He was then committed to the charge of 
Robert, prior of Merton, to be educated for religion. When 
older, he went to Paris, and studied there. On his return, 
he began to take part in the affairs of the city of London, and 
was made clerk and accountant to the sheriffs. But a serious 
accident befell Becket in the early part of his life, which had 
well nigh cut short his career. There was a knight named 
Richard de Aquila, who used to lodge in the house of Gilbert 
when he was in London. This man, being much addicted 
to hunting and hawking, became a great favourite with 
Thomas, then a lad. It happened that during one of the 
half-yearly vacations, when Thomas was home from school, 
he accompanied his father's guest on one of his hawking ex- 
peditions. They were both on horseback, the knight in 

Dec. 29-] S. Thomas a Becket. 329 

advance of his companion. They arrived at a narrow bridge, 
fit only for foot-passengers, and leading across a mill-dam. 
The mill was at work below, and the current was running 
strongly in the direction of the wheel. The knight spurred 
his horse over the bridge, and reached the other side in 
safety. Thomas did not meet with the same good luck ; he 
and his horse were precipitated into the mill-stream. The 
falcon, which Thomas was carrying on his wrist, shared the 
same fate, and the lad, not content with saving himself, was 
eager to save the bird, and was thus swept imperceptibly 
almost under the wheel of the mill. A cry for help was 
raised, and death seemed inevitable, when the water was let 
off the wheel, and the mill suddenly stopped. The miller 
had seen the fall into the water, and had taken immediate 
measures to prevent an accident which he foresaw. He 
came out at once, and pulled the boy out of the stream. 

Among those who lodged in Gilbert k Becket's house 
were Archdeacon Baldwin and Master Eustace, from Bou- 
logne, acquaintances of Archbishop Theobald. These men 
soon perceived the talents of the young man, and introduced 
him to the notice of the archbishop, and Gilbert took occa- 
sion to remind the prelate that they were both of the same 
Norman origin, and descended from a common ancestor, a 
knight named Thierci. Becket was at once on the high road 
of advancement. His extraordinary abilities were cultivated 
by the wise patronage of the primate. Once he accompanied 
that prelate to Rome ; and on more than one other occasion 
visited that great centre of Christian affairs. He was per- 
mitted to reside for a certain time at each of the great 
schools for the study of canon law, Bologna and Auxerre. 
But he was not without enemies. 

Roger du Pont TEv^que, a favourite of the archbishop, 
looked on the young man with hostility, bred of jealousy. 
He vented his spleen against him by nicknaming him Baile- 

330 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

hache, after the name of the man in whose company he had 
first appeared at the court of the archbishop. The enmity of 
this man caused him to be twice removed from the palace ; 
but on both these occasions he took refuge with Walter, 
archdeacon of Canterbury, brother of the primate. By his 
intercession Becket was replaced in the palace, and restored 
to favour. When Walter was removed to the see of Rochester 
(a.d. 1 148), the hostile Roger succeeded to the archdeaconry 
of Canterbury. 

In 1 154, Roger du Pont I'Eveque was appointed to the 
archbishopric of York, and the archdeaconry of Canterbury 
was given to Becket, then aged thirty-six. He was already 
incumbent of S. Mary-le-Strand, and rector of Otford. The 
archdeaconry of Canterbury was the richest ecclesiastical 
prize in the kingdom next to the archbishopric From this 
time he ruled without rival in the favour of the aged Theo- 
bald. Preferments were heaped upon him by his patron with 
lavish bounty. He was given a prebendal stall in S. Paul's, 
London, another in Lincoln, and he held several livings. 
And yet, till made archdeacon, he was not in deacon's 
orders.^ In after years, when in exile, he was reproached 
with his ingratitude to the king who had raised him from 
poverty. " Poverty !" he rejoined. " Even then I held the 
archdeaconry of Canterbury, the provostship of Beverley, a 
great many churches, and several prebends."* . 

The trial and triumph of Becket's abilities was a negotia- 
tion of the utmost difficulty with the court of Rome. The 
first object was to obtain legatine power for Archbishop 
Theobald, and to withdraw it from the bishop of Winchester ; 
the second tended more than almost all measures to secure 
the throne of England to the house of Plantagenet. Arch- 
bishop Theobald had inclined to the cause of Matilda and 

1 After giving a list of his benefices, Fitz-Stephen adds, " In process of time the 
archbishop ordained him deacon, and made him archdeacon of Canterbury." 
' " Phtrimae ecclesiae, praebendae nonnullse," Ep. 130. 

Dec. 29.] '5'. Thomas a Becket. 33 1 

her son : he had refused to officiate at the coronation of 
Eustace, son of King Stephen. Becket not merely obtained 
from Eugenius III. the full papal approbation of this refusal, 
but a condemnation of Stephen (whose title had before 
been sanctioned by Eugenius himself ) as a perjured usurper. 
But on the accession of Henry II., the archbishop began to 
tremble at his owiV work ; serious apprehensions arose as to 
the disposition of the young king towards the Church. The 
Churchmen feared the possibility of Henry combining with 
the nobles against the spiritual power. They no doubt sus- 
pected that the augmentation of their privileges, which had 
been favoured by the necessities or fears of Stephen, might 
be checked by a union of the king with their natural ene- 
mies, the barons. 

It was notorious at the court of Henry II. that many 
members of the young king's family entertained views hos- 
tile to the encroachments of the Church, and we shall find 
in the sequel that these men goaded on the king to the con- 
test which took place between him and the clergy. The 
archbishop was therefore anxious to place near the person of 
the king, one on whom he could rely to counteract these 
threatening tendencies and influences. He had discerned 
not merely unrivalled abilities, but, with prophetic sagacity, 
his archdeacon's devoted churchmanship. Through the 
recommendation of the primate, Becket was raised to 
the dignity of chancellor, an office which made him the 
second civil power in the realm, inasmuch as his seal was 
necessary to countersign all royal mandates. Nor was it 
without great ecclesiastical influence^, for the chancellor 
had the appointment of all the royal chaplains, and the cus- 
tody of the vacant bishoprics, abbacies, and benefices. 
" The king's chancellor," says Fitz-Stephen, ** if he pleases, 
always dies an archbishop or a bishop." 

This office was bestowed on Becket in 1155, when he was 

332 L ives of the Saints. ^d^. ^^^ 

about thirty-eight. "Thomas," says Herbert de Bosham, 
" now as it were laid aside the deacon, and took on him the 
duties of the chancellor, which he discharged with zeal and 
ability." Roger of Pontigny tells us that " it is difficult to 
describe the way in which he filled both the characters, that 
of the clerk and of the courtier, for in the outset he was so 
assailed by the jealousy of rivals and by tales of scandal un- 
blushingly circulated about him, that he complained of them 
to the archbishop and his private friends, and declared that 
if possible he would have withdrawn himself altogether from 
the court." 

But this must have been a passing fit of impatience ; we 
hear no more of it, and the distaste for court life probably dis- 
appeared as rapidly as it had risen, for the new life had much 
to recommend it to one who was not destitute of ambition. 
The king delighted in his company, and gave up all matters 
of state to his guidance. Thus whilst Henry occupied his 
time in youthful sports, Thomas was discharging all the 
royal duties with vigour and activity ; at one time he was 
marching in complete armour, at the head of the chivalry of 
the kingdom ; at another, he was administering justice to the 
people. It was only in name that he differed from the 
king himself, for everything was at his disposal ; the nobles 
and magistrates were all under his orders'; and it became 
manifest to all men, that in order to obtain a point with the 
king, it was absolutely necessary first to gain the ear of the 
chancellor. Such was the attachment which Henry con- 
ceived for his chancellor, that he blindly fancied him devoted 
to his service in every particular. He did not recollect that 
Thomas k Becket had already sworn fidelity to another 
Master, whose servant he more especially was ; the stamp 
of the Church was set on him, and this no civil honours 
could efface. Though he might " lay aside the deacon and 
assume the chancellor for a while," yet nothing could divert 
him from the tendency of his early education. 

Dec. 29.] ^- Thomas a Becket 333 

In the beginning of the reign of Henry, the guidance of a 
wise head is manifest. Even if we attribute the initiative to 
the king, yet it is certain that Becket had the execution of 
what was done. A new and pure coinage was introduced. 
To revive the vigour of the laws, the judicial and executive 
offices of the crown were filled, and at their head were placed, 
as grand justiciaries, the earl of Leicester and Richard de 
Lacy, men of high character and ability. 

All the foreign mercenaries, whom Stephen and others had 
established in England, were bidden depart the kingdom on 
a certain day, on pain of death. William of Ypres was 
deprived of the earldom of Kent, and banished with the 
rest. The king then proceeded to destroy the castles which 
had been built during the reign of his predecessor, sparing 
only a few which were advantageously placed for the defence 
of the realm. He resumed all the crown lands which 
Stephen or the empress had been induced to alienate ; the 
earl of Nottingham, who^had poisoned Ranulf of Chester a 
few years before, fled the kingdom in fear. William of 
Albemarle, who had long ruled in Yorkshire like a king, was 
obliged to place the strong castle of Scarborough in the 
king's hands, together with the estate he had of late acquired 
from the crown. Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, 
brother of Stephen, in distrust and alarm, secretly withdrew 
from the kingdom, upon which his strongholds were* at once 
destroyed by the king. It was by the advice of the bishop 
of Winchester that Theobald of Canterbury had obtained 
the appointment of chancellor for Thomas, and it is therefore 
hardly possible to believe that Becket had anything to do 
with his humiliation. Indeed, throughout, the king's line of 
conduct seems to have been marked by his own independent 
mind. He was resolved to establish the prerogatives of the 
crown, reduce the independence of the nobles, and establish 
everywhere justice. From, the first he saw, there can be no 
doubt, that he must come into collision with the power which 

334 L ives of the Saints. pec. 29. 

threatened the crown almost as much as the barons, and 
which by its privilege of the clergy interfered with the execu- 
tion of impartial justice. But he used Becket as his tool 
to destroy the gross secular abuses in the realm, and waited 
his time to strike at the encroachments of the ecclesiastical 
power. Whether from the initiative of the king, or of the 
chancellor, the most admirable reforms were introduced, and 
prosperity dawned on England, sorely wasted by its late 
troubles. " It seemed,'' says Fitz-Stephen, " as if the country 
were enjoying a second spring. The Holy Church was 
honoured and respected ; every vacant bishopric and abbacy 
was given to some deserving person, without simony. The 
king, by the favour of Him who is King of kings, succeeded 
in all he undertook. The realm of England became richer 
and richer, and copious blessings flowed from the horn of 
plenty. The hills were cultivated, the valleys teemed with 
com, the fields were full of cattle and the folds of sheep." 

" The countenance of Thomas was mild and beautiful ; he 
was tall of stature, had a nose elevated and slightly aquiline. 
In his senses and physical perceptions he was most acute ; 
his language was refined and eloquent, his intellect subtle, 
and his mind 6ast in a noble mould. His aspirations after 
virtue were of a lofty kind, whilst his conduct, amiable to- 
wards all men, exhibited singular S3rmpathy towards the poor 
and oppressed, whilst to the proud he was hostile and unbend- 
ing. Ever ready to promote the advancement of his friends, 
he was liberal to all men, of a lively and witty disposition, 
cautious alike of being deceived *and of deceiving others. 
He distinguished himself for his prudence at an early age, 
even whilst he was a child of this world, he who was after- 
wards to become a child of light/' 

He is said to have resided for some time at West Tarring, 
in Sussex, and in the rectory garden is an ancient fig-tree 
which tradition says he brought from Italy and planted there. 

Dec. 29.] S. Thomas d Becket. 335 

_ I ■ ■■ — — — ■ - — ^ ■ 

The species of fig tree which grows so plentifully in Sussex 
is believed to have been propagated from this tree. 

Of Becket's chancellorship, which lasted seven years, 
many anecdotes have been preserved, principally by his secre- 
tary, Fitz-Stephen. He took the provostship of Beverley, 
and at least one prebendal stall at Hastings, the governor- 
ship of Eye, and of the Tower of London, and of the Castle of 
Berkhamstead. How many livings he held has not been 

Fitz-Stephen tells ps that " he generally amused himself, 
not incessantly, but occasionally, with hawks, falcons, or 
hunting dogs, or in a game of chess :— 

* Where front to front the mimic warriors close. 
To check the progress ©f their mimic foes.* 

" The house and table of the chancellor were open to all 
of every rank who sought the royal court and needed hospi- 
tality. He never dined without the society of earls and 
barons, whom he had invited. He ordered his hall to be 
strewn every day with fresh straw and hay in winter, and 
with green leaves in summer, that the numerous knights for 
whom the benches were insufficient, might find the floor clean 
and neat for them to sit down on, and that their rich clothes 
and beautiful tunics might not be soiled and injured. His 
board shone with vessels of gold and silver, and abounded 
with costly dishes and precious beverages, so that what- 
ever objects of food and drink were recommended by their 
rarity, wei^ purchased by his officers at exorbitant prices. 
But amid all this he was himself singularly frugal. His 
confessor, Robert, canon of Merton, assured me that from 
the time of his becoming chancellor, he did not give way to 
licentious habits, though he was much tempted thereto by 
the king.^ When one of his clerks, Richard of Ambly, 

* The words of Fitz-Stephen seem to suggest that he had not been of a moral 
character before he became chancellor. 

336 L ives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

carried off the wife of a friend, pretending that her husband 
who was in foreign parts was dead, the chancellor dismissed 
the clerk from his house and friendship, and put him in the 
Tower of London, where he was long detained loaded with 


William of Canterbury tells us that the chancellor was one 
day with the king at Stafford, and that the citizen in whose 
house he lodged, suspected him of being on terms of too 
close intimacy with a distinguished lady of the court He 
had the curiosity to enter the chancellor's bedroom at night, 
to ascertain whether he slept there. The bed, indeed, gave 
tokens of having been unoccupied, but Thomas k Becket. 
was not in the lady's chamber, but asleep on his floor. 

" The nobles of England and of the neighbouring king- 
doms sent their sons to serve in the chancellor's house. 
When they had received from him the proper nurture and 
instruction, he bestowed on them the belt of knighthood, and 
sent them home with honour to their parents and relations, 
whilst he retained some of them in his service. The king 
himself, his master, committed his son and heir to his charge, 
and the chancellor placed the young prince in the midst of 
the sons of the nobility who were of the same age, where he 
received due attention from them all, and had masters and 
proper servants as his rank required. Numbers of noblemen 
and knights did homage to the chancellor, and all of them 
were readily received by him, always saving their allegiance 
to the king, and as being now his vassals, were promoted 
under his patronage. There never passed a day in which he 
did not make large presents of horses, birds, clothes, gold 
and silver plate, or money."* 

*' He was followed by so large a retinue of soldiers and 
persons of all ranks that the royal palace seemed empty in 
comparison;" ^ and " the king himself was left almost alone, 

* Fitz-Stephen. " * Roger of Pontigny. 

Dec. 29.] S' Thomas a Beckei. 337 

»■ " ■ " ~ " ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ - ■■-■ ■■.■■■ ■ ■■ ■■■■■^^— ■ >■ I > ■■ ■ I — — ■■■■■■ ., ■ I, , 

and sometimes complained to the chancellor that his court 
was drained." * 

John of Salisbury admits that he greedily strove to gain 
the favour of the populace, and was both vain and proud ; 
that he conducted himself towards women with a warmth of 
expression which was, perhaps, equivocal, but he strenuously 
declares that he remained chaste.^ When business was over 
the king and his chancellor used to play together, Hke school- 
boys, in the hall or in the church. 

One bleak winter day the king and the chancellor were 
riding together through a street in London. Henry saw an 
old beggar in rags coming towards them. 

" Do you see that man ? " he asked of Becket. 

" Yes," replied the chancellor. 

** How poor and infirm he seems," said the king ; " and 
he is almost naked. It were an act of charity to provide him 
with a thick, warm cloak." 

"It were so," answered the chancellor. "And your 
majesty should remember to relieve the old man." 

The king accosted the beggar in a mild tone, and asked 
him if he would like to have a warm cloak. The poor man, 
not knowing who they were, thought he was being mocked. 
Then the king said to the chancellor, " You shall have the 
credit of doing this great act of charity," and laying hands on 
his rich cloak of scarlet and minever, he endeavoured to drag 
it off. Becket strove to retain it. The retinue of knights 
and nobles rode hastily up to see what the struggle was 
about. But neither could speak, each had his hands fully 
occupied, and they had much ado to keep from falling off 
their horses. At last the button of the cloak gave way, and 
it remained in the king's hands. He gave it to the beggar, 

* Ed. Grim. 

' " Erat supra modum captator aurae popularis .... etsi superbus esset, et 
vanus, et interdum insipienter amantium et verba proferret, admirandus tamen et 
imitandus erat in corporis castitate." 

VOL. XI r. Z 

338 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

and told the story to his attendants, who burst into loud 
laughter, to the anger and humiliation of S. Thomas. 

Sometimes the king, on his return from hunting, would ride 
into the hall where his chancellor was dining ; call for a cup 
of wine from the high table, and depart ; at other times he 
would dismount, jump over the table, and seat himself be- 
side Becket, and fall to at his viands with the proverbial 
appetite of a hunter. 

One is inclined to wonder whence came all the wealth so 
lavishly displayed. It is true that Becket enjoyed the 
revenues of several benefices, the religious duties of which 
he never executed, but they were insufficient to keep up the 
royal magnificence in which he lived. It must be remem- 
bered, however, that all grants and royal favours passed 
through his hands, and that he was guardian of all escheated 
baronies and of all vacant benefices. No very exact account 
was kept of what he did with all the moneys that came into 
his hands from these sources, and he took good care to 
secure a general quittance from the chief justiciary of the 
realm before he vacated his chancellorship to take the arch- 

We ask, knowing the after history of Becket, whether, as 
chancellor, he set his face as a flint against interference with 
the immunities of the clergy. And we find, on the contrary, 
that, acting on his advice, the king levied a tax for his war 
in France on the clergy. The personal service of the king's 
vassals was commuted for a scutage or rate levied on every 
knight's fee, and this tax was exacted also from the Church. 

John of Salisbury, his fi-iend and panegyrist, says he did 
so, forced by necessity, and that he afterwards bitterly rued 
it, and took his after exile as the punishment for his guilty 
compliance. " If with Saul he persecuted the Church, with 
Paul he is prepared to die for the Church." But probably the 
worst effect of this compliance with the king's first attempt 

Dec. 29.] •^l Thomas a Becket. 339 

" ■ ■ ™" ■ ■ — ^ ■ — ^M^l^-^^— ^»^.— ^— ^— ^M ■—■■■—■■■■ I I . ■ I II I I ■-■■■! ^^M^M^^^ 

to extend even justice over all, and touch the sacred pockets 
of the ecclesiastics, to extract something for the preservation 
of the commonwealth, whose protection they enjoyed with- 
out hitherto contributing towards its expenses — was that 
the king was lured on to the delusion that Becket was ready 
to go forward with him in the execution of his complete 
scheme of reformation, and to support him in his attempt to 
bring the Church under control. Hitherto the whole burden 
of taxation had fallen on the laity. The clergy were exempt. 
The Church possessed a large share oT the land of England, 
and all that land was untaxed, so that the burden fell with 
double oppression on the lay landowners. 

One day, when Becket was recovering from an illness at 
Rouen, the prior of Leicester came to see him, on his way 
from the court of the king, who was then in Gascony. He 
said roughly to Becket, " How is this ? You, an ecclesiastic, 
are dressed as a man who goes out hawking, with a cape with 
sleeves ! Although but one person, you are archdeacon of 
Canterbury, dean of Hastings, provost of Beverley, canon of 
this place, and canon of that, proctor to the archbishop, and, 
it is whispered, likely to become archbishop yourself." 
Becket said, "There are three poor priests in England, 
any one of whom I would rather see raised to that dignity. 
And, moreover, so well do I know the king, that I should 
either lose his favour, or that of God, were I made arch- 
bishop." This shows that Becket had mapped out his own 
course in his own mind. Not one of the three poor priests, 
he knew well enough, was likely to get the archbishopric, 
which was certain to be his, could he but keep up the farce 
till the death of Theobald. 

Henry II, had married Eleanor of Guienne, the divorced 
wife of the king of France, and laid claim to the county 
of Toulouse, as part of his wife's inheritance. But Raymond 
of S. Gilles, who held the county by conveyance from the 

340 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

father of Queen Eleanor, and, moreover, as the dower of his 
own wife, sister of the French king, refused to give it up. 
Louis sustained the cause of his brother-in-law, and Henry- 
prepared for war. As the territory in dispute was far distant, 
the king, by the advice of his chancellor, resolved to accept 
from each of his vassals a sum of money in lieu of personal 
service. The amount so obtained enabled him to enlist a 
vast body of mercenaries, with which, augmented by his 
chief barons and their immediate retainers, he took the 

In his suite appeared the young king of Scotland, a prince 
of Wales, and the chancellor Becket, leading 700 men-at- 
arms, paid by himself. In the south, Henry was joined by 
Raymond-Berenger, king of Aragon, and other allies, with 
considerable forces. The advance of the formidable host 
upon Toulouse caused the count urgently to implore the aid 
of the king of France ; and Louis, without waiting to collect 
his forces, threw himself into the menaced city with a small 
troop. Upon this, Henry, with- a politic respect for his 
over-lord, immediately gaye up the siege, in spite of the 
counsel of his chancellor. Satisfied with the conquests he 
had already made, the king returned to Normandy, leaving 
Becket, with the constable, in command of the force which 

Fitz Stephen says : " If Becket's advice had been listened 
to, they would have taken, not the town only, but also the 
king of France, so numerous was the army of the English 
king. But the king listened to the counsel of others, and 
from some foolish superstition and respect towards the king 
of France, who was his over-lord, he hesitated to attack the 
town, though the chancellor asserted that the king of France 
had forfeited his right as over-lord by appearing in arms 
against Henry in defiance of treaty. Not long after, the 
troops that had been summoned by the king of France 

Dec. 29.] -S^- Thomas a Eecket, 341 

entered the city ; and the king of England, with the Scottish 
king and all his army, retired without having accomplished 
their purpose. However, they took the town of Cahors, and 
several castles in the neighbourhood of Toulouse, which 
either belonged to the count of Toulouse and his vassals, or 
had previously been taken by him from partisans of the king 
of England. The barons refused to take charge of these 
castles after the king's departure ; so the chancellor, with his 
retainers, and Henry of Essex, alone remained. He put him- 
self after that in full armour at the head of a stout band of 
his men, and stormed three other castles, which were strongly 
fortified, and appeared impregnable. He then passed the 
Garonne with his troops, in pursuit of the enemy, and after 
he had confirmed the whole province in its allegiance to the 
king, he returned crowned with honour. 

"Afterwards, the chancellor, in the war between the French 
king and his own master, the king of England, when the 
armies were assembled in March, on the frontier between 
Gisors, Trie, and Courcelles, maintained, besides 700 knights 
of his own household, 1,200 other knights' mercenaries, 
and 4,000 private soldiers for the space of forty days. To 
every knight was assigned three shillings a day of the chan- 
cellor's money towards their horses and esquires, and the 
knights themselves all dined at the chancellor's table. One 
day, though he was a clerk, he charged with lance in rest, 
and horse at full speed, against Engelram de Trie, a valiant 
French knight, who was advancing towards him, and having 
unhorsed the rider, caried off his horse in triumph. Indeed, 
the chancellor's knights were everywhere foremost in the 
whole English army, doing more valiant deeds than any 
others, and everywhere distinguishing themselves, for he was 
always himself at their head, encouraging them, and pointing 
out the path to glory. He sounded the signal for advance 
or retreat on one of those slender trumpets which were 

342 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

peculiar to his band, but which were well known to all the 
rest of the army round." 

An occasion now arose for Becket's abilities to be called 
into action on a matter of importance to his royal master. It 
was judged expedient by the king and his councillors to 
strengthen the throne by an alliance between Prince Henry 
and the Princess Margaret, daughter of the French king. 
The chancellor was sent to demand the hand of the young 
princess. Fitz-Stephen gives a curious picture of the prodi- 
gality and display of Becket in this embassy to the French 
court : " He had with him 200 men on horseback of his own 
household — soldiers, clerks, butlers, serving-men, knights, 
and sons of the nobility, who were performing military ser- 
vice to him, and all equipped with arms. They and their 
whole train shone in new holiday clothes, each according to 
his rank. He had also four-and-twenty changes of garments, 
almost all of which were to be given away, and left in foreign 
parts — elegant tartans, frieze and foreign skins, cloaks and 
carpets, such as those with which the bed and chamber of a 
bishop are adorned. He had also with him dogs and birds 
of all kinds, such as kings and wealthy men keep. There 
were in his train eight carriages, each drawn by five horses, 
in size and strength like chargers. Each horse had his proper 
groom, in a new vesture, walking by the side of the carriage, 
and the carriage had its driver and its guard. Two carriages 
were filled with beer in iron-bound casks, to be given to the 
French, who admire that sort of liquor, for it is a wholesome 
drink, bright and clear, of a vinous colour and superior taste. 
One carriage served as the chancellor's chapel, one as his 
chamber, and another as his kitchen. Others carried diffe- 
rent sorts of meat and drink ; some cushions, bags contain- 
ing night-clothes, bundles, and baggage. He had twelve 
sumpter horses, and eight coffers to carry his plate of gold 
and silver cups, pitchers, basins, salts, spoons, knives, and 

Dec. 29.] ^' Thomas a Becket. 343 

otheT utensils. There were coffers for containing the chan- 
cellor's money, together with his clothes and a few books. 
One sumpter horse, that went before the others, contained 
the sacred vessels of the chapel, the books and ornaments of 
the altar. Each of the sumpter horses was attended by a 
suitable groom, trained to his duties. Moreover, each car- 
riage had a large dog tied to it, either abpve or below, fierce 
and terrible. There was also a long-tailed ape on the back 
of each horse. On entering the French villages and castles, 
first went the footmen, about two hundred and fifty in number, 
marching six or ten abreast, and singing after the fashion of 
their country. After an interval, followed the dogs in couples, 
and harriers fastened by thongs, with their keepers and 
attendants. At a little distance followed the sumpter horses, 
with their grooms riding them, their knees planted on the 
haunches of the horses. The French ran out of their houses, 
at the noise of their passing, and said, *What a man the king 
of England must be, if his chancellor travels in such style ! ' 
After these came the squires, carrying the shields of the 
knights, and leading their chargers; then came other squires, 
then young men, then the falconers with the birds on their 
wrists, and, after them, the butlers, masters, and attendants 
of the chancellor's house, then the knights and clerks, all 
riding two-and-two together, and lastly came the chancellor, 
with some of his personal friends about him." 

The king of France, having lost his queen, married within 
three weeks of her death Adelaide de Blois, a niece of King 
Stephen. Such a marriage was scarcely decent. Louis of 
France had married the mother of Henry, who was now to 
be united to his daughter by Constance of Castile. He had 
been divorced from Eleanor on the plea of consanguinity. 
The blood relationship between the children to be affianced 
was not very close, and Becket easily obtained a papal dis- 
pensation to allow of the marriage, but of its indecency 

344 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ ^^^ 

there can be no question. As soon as the marriage had 
taken place, Henry II. at once obtained the dower of the 
princess from the Templars, who were the guardians of 
it. The French monarch, exasperated, instantly renewed 
hostilities, but peace was soon again brought about by the 
exertions of the legate of Alexander III. 

On April i8, 1161, the aged Archbishop Theobald of 
Canterbury was laid in his grave. Henry did not at once 
nominate his successor ; no one doubted who was to become 
primate of England, it had been openly discussed before, 
and Thomas expected to be offered it. In the beginning of 
the year 1162 the chancellor was sent to England from 
Normandy, where the court then was, to prepare for the 
crowning of the young prince Henry as his father's successor. 
Shortly after the king sent the congi (Telire by Richard de 
Lucy, grand justiciary of the realm, and three bishops, to 
the monks of Canterbury, bidding them elect an archbishop 
and primate of the Church of England. 

The letter giving liberty to elect was read to the prior and 
chapter by Richard de Lucy, and then the monks retired — 
invoked the Holy Spirit to guide them to make a right choice, 
and then humbly invited Richard de Lucy to let them know 
whom the king recommended. Thomas \ Becket, chancellor 
of England, was designated by Henry for the vacant prima- 
tial throne. Some of the monks hesitated, they had never 
before elected one who was not a monk, but the king's wish 
was equivalent to a command, and they swallowed their 
scruples and chose Becket as required.^ 
. The deputation from the kipg then went to London, the 
election met there with some opposition from Gilbert Foliot, 
bishop of Hereford, who, perhaps, coveted the archbishopric 

* Grim says that the election was ** extorted " from them by Henry. From Foliot 
we learn that the commissioners of the king were armed with penalties should the 
monks prove refractory. 

Dec. 29.] •5'. Thomas a Becket. 345 

for himself. But his resistance was powerless, it merely 
took the form of grumbling, and he did not dare to oppose 
the royal pleasure by overt act. For he was threatened in 
the event of his objecting with banishment, not only of him- 
self, but of all his relations.' Thomas^ k Becket made the 
usual protest that he did not desire the vacant throne, and 
shrunk from the duties involved by accepting, and perhaps 
with some transient sincerity, for he saw clearly that he 
would not maintain the favour of the king if he asserted the 
rights, or rather, claims of the Church to freedom from taxa- 
tion, and clerical independence of the secular courts. 

Thomas k Becket was consecrated by Henry, bishop of 
Winchester, on May 27, 1 162, in the cathedral of Canterbury. 
He had been ordained priest a few days before. 

The general opinion of the appointment was not altogether 
favourable. It was complained that the election was un- 
canonical, as the monks of Christ Church had been obliged 
by the king to elect his nominee, and their free choice had 
been interfered with. Others said, " How shall a man who 
has not put his hand to the oar, now assume the helm ?" and 
" Here is a man who in his very dress has cast aside what is 
befitting a clerk, a man who has delighted in the luxury of a 
court, and whose conversation has been wholly secular, a man 
whose ambition has been set to gain this place, now made 
archbishop. He ought to be ashamed to accept the office." 

Herbert de Bosham tells us that Becket did warn the king 
beforehand that he would not serve him blindly, as head of 
the English Church. " If you do as you say, my lord, your 
mind will very soon be estranged from me, and you will 
hate me then as much as you love me now, for you assume 
an authority in Church matters which I should not consent to, 
and there will be plenty of persons to stir up strife between us." 

^ " Exilio cnideliter addict! sumus, nee solum persona nostra, sed et domus patris 
mei, et conjuncta nobis afifinitas, et cognatio tota-" £p. 194. 

346 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

For some time after Becket was made archbishop he did 
not greatly change his mode of life. His table groaned 
under gold and silver plate, and was furnished with fastidious 
delicacy, and his retinue and his own dress were as magni- 
ficent as when he was chancellor. John of Salisbury, who 
was afterwards the biographer of the saint, TVTOte to him in 
1 165, two years after his consecration, urging him to dis- 
engage his mind from the worldly interests which seemed 
entirely to engross it, and to adopt a more devotional habit of 
mind and'life. " Far better confer on serious subjects with 
some serious person, and warm the feelings by his example, 
than dwell on and discuss the subtle controversies of secular 
literature." The letter was a serious call to the archbishop 
to commune with his own heart, and to cleanse and discipline 
a too luxurious and worldly life. 

John, bishop of Poitiers, also later wrote a letter to Becket 
to remonstrate \^dth him on his magnificent style of living. 
" I have often warned you, and must again press you to get 
rid of your superfluous incumbrances, and to consider the 
badness of the times " — and this was written when Thomas 
was an exile in France. 

His biographers, indeed, speak of his wearing a hair shirt, 
and of his den)dng himself in food, and drinking water in 
which fennel had been boiled, of baring his back to the 
scourge, and sleeping on the floor, but it would appear that 
these practices grew up later, after he had gone to Pontigny. 
Indeed, he did not so much as affect to wear an ecclesiastical 
costume even in choir, till rebuked by one of the monks 
of Canterbury,' and finding that it had become a matter of 
general complaint. 

One of the first acts of Becket on becoming archbishop 
was to resign the chancellorship, as incompatible with the 
office and spiritual duties of a bishop. This act of surrender 
is greatly to his credit. There seems to have been no desire 

Dec. 29.] '5'. Thomas d Becket. 347 

on the king's part to lose his chancellor, he had hoped that 
Becket would have combined both offices, and held simul- 
taneously the highest civil, as well as the highest ecclesias- 
tical, dignity in the kingdom. 

The king was vexed at this unexpected surrender, and he 
then called on Becket to resign the archdeaconry of Canter- 
bury also, and this the archbishop reluctantly consented to 
do. The alienation was, however, slight, and when the king 
landed at Southampton, on Christmas Day, seven months 
after the election of his favourite to the archbishopric, Becket 
met him, and the prelate and his sovereign, forgetful of every« 
thing but their former friendship, rushed into each others' 
arms, and strove to out-do one another 'in professions of 
regard. They passed the whole day riding together, apart 
from the court, talking over the events which had happened 
since they had parted.^ 

Becket attended the council of Tours in May, 11 63, pre- 
sided over by Pope Alexander III., at the head of all the 
bishops of England, except those who were excused by age 
or infirmity. So great was his reputation, that the Pope 
sent out all the cardinals, except those in attendance on his 
own person, to escort the primate of England into the city. 

That strife which was to cost Becket his life, broke out 
next year, if not with full violence, at least with threatenings 
of becoming deadly. 

Both the king and the archbishop were prepared for 
aggressions. The first public collision was a dispute con- 
cerning the customary payment to the sheriffs of the counties 
of a tax of two shillings for every hide of land. The king 
determined to transfer the payment to his own exchequer. 
He summoned an assembly at Woodstock, and declared his 
intentions. All were mute but Becket ; the archbishop op- 

* This is one account, that of Herbert de Bosham ; but Diceto says the kin^jj 
showed coolness towards him. De Bosham is most likely to be correct. 

34^ Lives of the Saints, ^^^ ^^^ 

posed the enrolment of the decree, on the ground that the 
tax was voluntary, not of right. " If the sheriffs conduct 
themselves peaceably towards the people, we shall continue 
to pay to them, as before; but if not,. no one can compel 
us." "By God's eyes," said Henry, his usual oath, "it 
shall be enrolled ! " " By those same eyes," replied the 
prelate, " none of the men on my estate shall pay it so long 
as I live ! " 

On Becket's part, almost the first act of his primacy was 
to vindicate all the rights, and to resume all the property, 
which had been usurped, or which he asserted had been 
usurped, from his see. During the turbulent times just 
gone by, there would hardly have been rigid respect for the 
inviolability of sacred property. The title of the Church 
was held to be indefeasible. Whatever had once belonged 
to the Church might be recovered at any time ; and the 
ecclesiastical courts claimed the sole right of adjudication in 
such cases. Unfortunately, also, as we can now ascertain 
by the deeds which have been preserved, many of these 
claims. were based on forged charters or grants of land. In 
these cases the primate was at once plaintiff, judge, and 
carrier into execution of his own judgments. The lord of the 
manor of Eynsford, in Kent, who held from the king, claimed 
the right of presentation to that benefice. Becket asserted 
the prerogative of the see of Canterbury. On the forcible 
ejectment of his nominee by the lord, William of Eynsford, 
Becket proceeded at once to a sentence of excommunica- 
tion, without regard to Eynsford's feudal superior, the king. 
The primate next demanded the castle of Tunbridge from 
the head of the powerful family of De Clare ; though it had 
been held by De Clare, and it was asserted, received in 
exchange for a Norman castle, since the time of William the 

The custody of Rochester castle was another subject of 

Dec. 29.] ^' Tho7nas a Becket. 349 

contention. Becket claimed this by virtue of a grant of 
William the Conqueror. 

The king was almost forced by a succession of ecclesias- 
tical scandals, and the escape of the guilty, to insist on the 
clerks in his realm being brought under obedience to the 
laws. Crimes of great atrocity, it is said, of great frequency, 
crimes such as robbery and murder, for which secular per- 
sons were hanged by scores and without mercy, were com- 
mitted with impunity, or with punishment altogether inade- 
quate to the offence, by the clergy ; and the sacred name of 
clerk exempted not only bishops, abbots, and priests, but 
those of the lowest ecclesiastical rank from the civil power. 
It was the inalienable right of the clerk to be tried only in 
an ecclesiastical court. The Church accordingly swarmed 
with " acephalous " clerks, without title, duty, or settled 
abode, who led a roving, disreputable life, and were ready 
for any violence ; ** tonsured demons, workmen of the devil, 
clerks in name only, but belonging to Satan's portion."^ 
The only punishment that could be inflicted by ecclesias- 
tical tribunals was deprivation, degradation from orders, and 
relegation to a monastery. But as the king argued, those 
who cared least for the loss of orders were those whom a 
regard for their orders could not restrain from crime. The 
enormity of the evil is acknowledged by Becket's most 
ardent partisans. So long as the laity were allowed to com- 
pound for murder by paying a fine, as required by the laws 
of the Confessor, they could not complain of the ecclesias- 
tical treatment of criminous clerks. But in Henry I.'s reign 
capital punishment for lay murder was introduced, and the 
contrast between the severity with which lay crimes were 
punished, and the immunity of ecclesiastical offenders, be- 
came conspicuous. 

It was admitted that no less than a hundred of the clergy 

* Fitz-Stephen. 

3 50 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. ^^ 

had their hands stained with blood. Philip de Brois, canon 
of Hereford, was charged with having murdered a knight, 
and was allowed to go free by the bishop of Lincoln, in 
whose court he was tried, on paying a fine to the relatives of 
the man he had killed. The sheriff of Bedford was not 
satisfied with this justice, and in the court of Dunstable, 
whilst De Brois was present, called him a murderer. On 
this the canon burst into opprobrious language. He was 
summoned for so doing before the archbishop, and his 
benefice sequestrated for a year. A clerk in Worcestershire 
had debauched a young lady, and murdered her father. The 
king wanted to have him tried in the lay-courts. The arch- 
bishop refused to allow it, and condemned the man to confine- 
ment in a monastery. Another clerk had stolen a silver goblet. 
Again an attempt was made to bring this criminal before the 
secular judge. Becket interfered, and " he was deprived of 
his orders, and branded into the bargain, to please the 
king." * The dean of Scarborough had circulated scandalous 
stories about the wife of a citizen of that town, and refused 
to desist unless paid twenty-two marks. The burgess grudg- 
ingly disbursed, but complained to the king. The dean 
appeared before Henry, and was given over to the ecclesi- 
astical court, which simply made the dean refund the money. 
" What, then," exclaimed Richard de Lucy, grand justiciary, 
"is not justice to be executed?" "The man is a clerk," 
was the reply vouchsafed him. " Then I will have nothing 
to do with such a miscarriage of justice," said De Lucy, and 
he complained to the king. This had occurred whilst Theo- 
bald was archbishop ; but it was not forgotten by Henry. 

Osbert, archdeacon of York, shortly before King Henr/s 
accession, had been charged with administering poison in 
the eucharistic cup to his archbishop, William \ and King 
Stephen, notwithstanding the strenuous opposition of Arch- 
bishop Theobald and his brethren, had insisted on having 

' Fitz-Stephen. 

Dec. 29.] ^' Thomas a Becket. 351 

the charge heard in a secular court. But Stephen was suc- 
ceeded by Henry before the trial took place, and the bishops 
withdrew the case into the ecclesiastical courts, when the 
accused appealed to Rome, took oath that he was innocent, 
and got off scot free. The king was highly incensed at this, 
and did not forget it. 

The king, determined to bring these great questions to 
issue, summoned a Parliament at Westminster. He began 
the proceedings by enlarging on the abuses of the archi- 
diaconal courts. The archdeacons kept the most watchful 
and inquisitorial superintendence over the laity ; but every 
offence was easily commuted by a pecuniary fine, which fell 
to them. The king complained that they levied a revenue 
equal to his own from the sins of the people, yet that the 
public morals were only more deeply and irretrievably de- 
praved. He then demanded that all clerks accused of 
heinous crimes should be immediately degraded and handed 
over to the officers of justice, to be dealt with according to 
law ; for their guilt, instead of deserving a lighter punish- 
ment, was doubly guilty. " I also demand, that whilst the 
ceremony of stripping them of their orders is performed, 
some of my officials shall be present to seize the culprit, lest 
he find opportunity of escape." 

Becket insisted on delay till the next morning, in order 
that he might consult his suffragan bishops. This the king 
refused; the bishops withdrew to confer on their answer. 
They were disposed to yield, partly because they felt the 
justice of the claim, partly because they did not wish to 
offend the king. But Becket was resolute. When one 
listens to his speech, the feeling is one of stupefaction. To 
screen the violators of maidens, adulterers, murderers, slan- 
derers, and robbers, is a holy and dignified cause ; to yield 
them up is base and wicked. The bishops are thus ad- 
dressed for counselling such a cause : ** Fools ! how can 
you thus yield to the wickedness of the times, urging you to 

352 Lives of the Saints. \i>^^^^, 

open guilt ! to the sacrifice of Christ's Church ! God can 
ameliorate the condition of His Church without our deteriorat- 
ing ourselves. Can the gain of the Church be made by the 
crimes of its teachers ? Let us shed our blood for the liber- 
ties of the Church ! " Thus, it appeared, notorious guilt and 
crime on the part of the teachers of the Church consisted in 
surrendering criminous clerks, convicted of gross atrocities, 
to civil and impartial justice, not in the wicked deeds them- 
selves, which then deeply stained the clergy. 

Becket's resolution prevailed. The king demanded 
whether the bishops would observe the "customs of the, 
realm." " Saving my order," replied the archbishop. That 
order was still to be exempt from all jurisdiction but its own. 
So answered all the bishops except Hilary of Chichester, 
who made the declaration without reserve. The king left 
the assembly in a rage, without completing any of the mat- 
ters for which the council had been summoned. The day 
closed in, and the prelates returned to their quarters. On 
their way the archbishop rebuked the bishop of Chichester 
for his base submission. Next morning the king required 
the archbishop to surrender the custody^ of the royal castles 
and manors which he had received as chancellor, and which 
he had not given up, and he deprived him at the same time 
of the charge of the prince, his son. The bishops entreated 
Becket to withdraw or change the offensive expression. At 
first he answered that should an angel from heaven give 
him such counsel, he would hold him accursed. At length, 
however, he gave way, persuaded, as Edward Grim tells us, 
by the papal almoner, who was bribed by English gold. He 
went to Oxford, and made the concession, promising to 
assent to the royal constitutions without any reservation of 
the rights of his own order. 

The king, in order to ratify with the utmost solemnity the 
concession extorted from Becket and the bishops, sum- 

Dec. 290 ' S.Thomas a Becket, 353 

moned a great council of the realm to Clarendon, to meet 
in January, 11 64. Clarendon was a royal palace between 
three and five miles from Salisbury. The two archbishops 
and eleven bishops, and between thirty and forty of the 
highest nobles, with numbers of inferior barons, were pre- 
sent. The ancient laws of England in reference to eccjesi- 
astical immunities were rehearsed before the council. Among 
these were laws forbidding ecclesiastical courts deciding 
questions concerning advowsons and the presentation to 
livings, forbidding appeals to the Pope, and excommunica- 
tions launched against tenants in chief without the king's 
licence ; ordering clerks accused of criminal offences to be 
tried in the king's courts. These ancient laws were uncodi- 
fied. " It is my wish," said the king, " that the royal con- 
stitutions of my ancestors be reduced to writing, and signed 
and sealed by the archbishop and all present, to prevent 
future misunderstandings." " I declare," said the archbishop, 
*' before Almighty God, that no seal of mine shall ever be 
affixed to constitutions such as these." This sudden an- 
nouncement threw the assembly into confusion. The king 
broke out into one of his ungovernable fits of passion. 
William, earl of Leicester, and Reginald of Cornwall ex- 
postulated with the archbishop. Richard of Hastings, grand 
provincial of the Tempfars, urged him to yield. The arch- 
bishop of York and the bishop of Chichester favoured the 
motion of the king, the former perhaps still actuated by 
that animosity towards Becket which he had manifested 
towards him when both were together in the service of 
Theobald of Canterbury. Becket wavered, and then ex- 
claimed : '* It is God's will that I should perjure myself; for 
the present I submit and incur perjury, to repent of it here- 
after as I best may." ^ 

* Gilbert! Fol. Ep. 194. 

354 Lives of the Saints. [^ec. 29. 

He took the oath of obedience, which had been already 
sworn to by all the lay barons. He was followed by the 
rest of the bishops, reluctantly, according to one account, 
and compelled on one side by their dread of the lay barons, 
on the other by the example and authority of the primate ; 
but, according to Becket's biographers, eagerly and of their 
own accord. 

The famous Constitutions of Clarendon were feudal in 
their form and spirit. All bishops' fiefs were granted by the 
crown, and the clergy were subjected equally with the laity 
to the common laws of the land. Clerks accused of crimes 
were to be summoned before the king's courts, and the 
clerks found guilty were not to be screened by the Church 
from suffering condign punishment. Appeals were to lie 
from the archdeacon to the bishop, from the bishop to the 
archbishop ; and, on failure of justice, in the last resort to 
the king, who would see to the case being fairly reheard in 
the archbishop's court, and justice done. 

As Becket left the council his cross-bearers remarked 
that "the Government seemed disposed to upset every- 
thing : Christ was not safe, nor His sanctuary, fi'om these 
devilish machinations. The pillars of the Church were 
shaking, and whilst the shepherd fled, the flock fell victims." 
The archbishop appeared in low spirits, and rode apart. At 
length Herbert de Bosham approached him and said, " My 
lord, why are you dejected?" 

" Alas ! " answered Becket, " the Church of England is 
reduced to bondage through my sins. I was a proud, vain 
man, a breeder of birds, and was suddenly elevated to feed 
men. I was a patron of stage-players and a follower of 
hounds, and I have become a shepherd of souls. I ne- 
glected my own vineyard, and am set to care for many 
others. My past life was alien from the path of salvation, 
and now I reap its fruits. God has forsaken me, and 

Dec. 29.] '5'. Thomas a Bee kef. 355 

deems me unworthy to hold the hallowed see in which I 
have been placed," and he burst into tears. 

The immunity which Becket claimed for criminal clerks 
extended also to those who injured clerks. Such were also 
tried in ecclesiastical courts, and the utmost that the Church 
could do to them was to cut them oif from communion. 
Curiously enough, that liberty which Becket claimed for 
criminals in orders and for offenders against the clergy, and 
which he achieved at last, was the means of saving his mur- 
derers from suffering condign punishment. 

But Becket did not consider- this point. It must have 
escaped his notice. Richard, his successor on the throne 
of S. Augustine, saw the mistake Becket had made, and 
strove for the alteration of the law. " I should be content," 
he says, " with the sentence of excommunication, if it had 
the effect of striking terror into evil doers ; but, through 
our sins, it has become ineffective and despised. The 
slayers of a clerk or a bishop are sent to Rome by way of 
penance; they enjoy themselves by the way, and return 
with the Pope's full pardon, and with increased boldness for 
the commission of crime. The king claims the right of 
punishing such offences ; but we clergy damnably reserve it 
to ourselves, and we deserve the consequences of our am- 
bition in usurping a jurisdiction with which we have no 
rightful concern." 

A few days after the council had dissolved, Becket sent 
to Alexander III., who was at Sens, an account of what had 
taken place, and a request to be released of his oath. This 
was readily accorded him. On his receipt of the answer 
from the Pope, Becket went to Woodstock, where the king 
was, and asked to be admitted into his presence; but he 
was repulsed from the gates by the attendants. He went 
on to Aldington in Kent, where he had a manor, and there 
secretly at night attempted to cross into France in a small 

356 L ives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

boat. The wind was contrary, and he was obliged to 
return and creep stealthily back to his house at Aldington. 
The servants had dispersed on the disappearance of their 
master, and only one clerk and his servant remained in the 
house. In the evening, after supper, the clerk said to his 
man, " Go and shut the outer door of the court, and let us 
go to bed." The servant lighted a candle and opened the 
door to go out, when, to his astonishment, he saw the arch- 
bishop alone, crouching in a corner. Thinking he saw a 
ghost, he ran back to his master in dismay. Becket, how- 
ever, followed him, and explained the circumstances of his 
return. The object of his attempted flight is not very clear, 
unless it were that he shrank from the conflict which he now 
saw was Inevitable. But it was in direct violation of the 
Constitutions of Clarendon, to which he had sworn adhesion 
and had appended his seal, one of which forbade a bishop 
crossing the sea without leave from the king. It was evi- 
dent that Henry had to do with a man who would not be 
bound by his most solemn oaths. No treaty could be made 
when one party claimed the power of retracting, and might 
at any time be released from his covenant. 

Before the close of the year Becket was cited to appear 
before a council of the realm at Northampton. The arch- 
bishop could not hope for support from the bishops. Gil- 
bert of London and Roger of York were his deadly foes. 
The bishops of Salisbury and Chichester were arrayed on 
the king's side. Bartholomew of Exeter, Roger of Wor- 
cester, and Robert of Lincoln were anxious to observe a 
politic neutrality. 

Becket himself attributed the chief guilt of his persecution 
to the bishops, since, " if they were not so tamely acquiescent, 
the king might have been quiescent." 

The assembly of Northampton opened on October 6, 1 164. 
Becket had been cited to answer a charge of withholding 

Dec. 29.] ^- Thomas a Becket. 357 

justice from John the Marshal, employed in the king's 
exchequer, who claimed the estate of Pagaham from the 
see of Canterbury. Twice had Becket been summoned 
to appear in the king's court to answer for this denial of 
justice ; once he had refused to appear, the second time he 
did not appear in person. In fact, though he was deter- 
mined not to sanction the Constitutions of Clarendon, under 
which John the Marshal had appealed to the royal court 
against the ecclesiastical court,* he had sworn in full 
council to abide by these constitutions, and he had openly 
disregarded them. Becket equivocated. He pretended 
that John the Marshal had sworn, not on the Gospels, but 
on the Tropologium, a book of ecclesiastical music. The 
archbishop was charged with treason for disregarding the 
king's court. Becket made his defence. It turned on 
quibbles. He did not state his real objection — that he 
would not acknowledge the right of the crown to receive 
an appeal from his own court. The judgment of all pre- 
sent, based on the constitutions passed at Clarendon, was 
that the archbishop had failed in his respect to the king's 
majesty, and that his defence was inadmissible. He was 
therefore condemned to have his movable goods confis- 
cated, subject to the king's mercy. 

There rose now a difficulty as to who should pronounce 
the judgment, the lay barons wishing to impose the un- 
pleasant duty on the bishops, and the latter retorting that 
the judgment was not an ecclesiastical one. It ended in 
the sentence being read by Henry, bishop of Winchester. 
The archbishop bowed to the decision in silence, and all 
the bishops, except Gilbert Foliot, of London, who refused, 
pledged their security for its being submitted to. The same 

* The hardship to John the Marshal was, that he had to argue his claim for a 
manor in the court of the archbishop who had wrested the manor from him, and 
could not therefore expect justice in a prejudiced court. 

358 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

day another charge was brought against him, of having re- 
ceived three hundred pounds from the wardenship of the 
castles of Eye and Berkhamstead. To this he replied that 
the money had been spent on the repair of the palace in 
London. " That," said Henry, " was done without my 
authority or sanction." The archbishop then offered to 
pay the three hundred pounds. Next day another claim 
was advanced for five hundred marks which had been lent 
him by the king during the war at Toulouse, and for five 
hundred more borrowed of a Jew on the king's security. 
Becket replied that the money had been given, not lent 
him ; but he said that he would refund it. He was then 
required to give an account of what he had done with all 
the money that had come into his hands whilst chancellor. 
In answer he produced his acquittance obtained on his 
election from the grand justiciary, De Lucy. The king de- 
clared that the justiciary had exceeded his power in grant- 
ing such an acquittance till the accounts of receipts and ex- 
penditure had been gone into formally. It was clear now 
that the king was bent on the ruin of Becket, and that there 
were no means in the hands of Becket of avoiding condem- 
nation. He had apparently not kept accounts, and had re- 
ceived the money as it came in, and spent it profusely, not 
estimating very carefully how much went on matters con- 
cerning the king and the State, and how much went on 
keeping up the lavish splendour of his own house. He 
struggled, however, against condemnation by advancing the 
plausible grounds that this demand for accounts had/ been 
sprung on him, and he was unprepared at the moment mth 
the papers requisite for meeting it. 

In his extreme exigency the primate consulted separately 
with the bishops. Their advice was diflferent according to 
their characters and their sentiments towards him. " Would 
to God that you were not the archbishop, but plain Thomas 

Dec. 29] '^- T^f^omas a Becket. 359 

k Becket ! " said Hilary of Chichester. " The king is re- 
ported to have said that either he or you must reign. Eng- 
land cannot contain you both. Throw yourself on his 

" Remember from what the king raised you/* said Gilbert 
of London. " If you persist in your opposition you will ruin 
the Church. Rather surrender your see.*' 

" No," said Henry of Winchester. " Let nothing be said 
of resigning his see at the beck and call of a temporal sove- 
reign. That would indeed bring ruin on the Church." 

" This man's life is in danger," said Robert of Lincoln, 
" and if put to death he will of course lose his bishopric 
along with his head — better lose one than both. What 
good a bishop can be without a head I cannot see." 

" The times are bad," remarked Bartholomew of Exeter. 
> " Use dissimulation till the storm is weathered. Better let 
one individual be jeopardized than the whole Church 

** I give no opinion," observed the cautious Roger of 
Worcester, '* lest I get into trouble myself." 

The next day was Sunday ; the archbishop did not leave 
his lodgings. On Monday the agitation of his spirits had 
brought on an attack of a disorder to which he was subject, 
and he could not appear. The king thought he was pre- 
tending sickness, and sent to him. The royal messengers 
found the archbishop in bed. On the morrow he had de- 
termined on his conduct. At one time he had seriously 
meditated on a more humiliating course : he proposed to 
seek the royal presence barefooted, with the cross in his 
hands, to throw himself at the king's feet, appealing to his 
old affections, and imploring him not to vex the Church. 
But Becket yielded to haughtier counsels, more congenial to 
his unbending character. He began by the significant act 
of celebrating out of due order the office of S. Stephen, the 

360 Lives of the Saints. pec. 29. 

first martyr, with the introit, "Princes did speak against 
me." It was remembered that this was the hundredth an- 
niversary of the landing of the Conqueror, and some signal 
event was anticipated. - After Mass Becket took a portion 
of the Host, and, vested pontifically, save that he had put off 
his pall and mitre, he grasped his archiepiscopal crozier and 
went direct to the king's residence. The cross seemed, as 
it were, the banner of the Church going forth to defy the 
royal sceptre.^ He met the bishops before the opening of 
the assembly. " My brethren," said he, " during two days 
you have been sitting upon me as judges, you who ought to 
have been my supporters. You are ready now, I doubt 
not, to act the same part in a criminal suit. But now I for- 
bid you, on your obedience, from so doing. And should 
the secular power lay hands on me, I enjoin you, on your 
obedience, to launch excommunications in my behalf. More- 
over, I appeal to Rome, the refuge of the helpless." Gilbert 
of London protested, and the others withdrew to communi- 
cate with the king. Only Henry of Winchester and Joscelin 
of Salisbury remained by the primate. He then proceeded 
on his course. His heart failed him now. " I wish," he 
sighed, " that I had adhered to my first intention 6i going 
before the king with the weapons, more suitable to a bishop, 
of entreaty and humility." But some of his clerks remon- 
strated against this temporary weakness, and he pursued his 
course. Holding his crozier, and armed with the Host, he 
entered the hall where the bishops and others were awaiting 
the king. " What means this new fashion of the archbishop 
bearing his own cross ? " asked the archdeacon of Lisieux. 
" Suffer me to carry it, my lord," said the bishop of Here- 
ford. " No, my son," answered Becket ; " I bear the banner 
under which I purpose fighting." " He always was a fool," 

* " Tanquam in praelio Domini, signifer Domini, vexlllum Domini erigens." — De 

Dec. 290 •5'. Thomas d Beckei. 361 

said the bishop of London, " and a fool he will remain to 
the end of the chapter." The bishops made room for him. 
Gilbert of London tried to pluck the crozier out of his 
hands. Becket held it fast. **.My lord archbishop," said 
Gilbert, " how if the king draw the sword against this uplifted 
cross? then we shall have king and archbishop in unseemly 
and unequal conflict." 

The bishops were summoned into the king^s presence. 
Becket sat alone in the outer hall. The archbishop of 
York swept by in disdainful pomp, with his crozier borne 
before him, in defiance of a mandate which forbade him to 
have his cross in the province of Canterbury. Like hostile 
spears, cross confronted cross,^ badges of unrelenting hosti- 
lity and stubborn defiance. 

During this interval, De Bosham, the archbishop's reader, 
put the question, " If they should lay their impious hand on 
thee, art thou prepared to fulminate excommunication 
against them ? " Fitz-Stephen, who sat at his feet, said in a 
loud, clear voice, *'That be far from thee; so did not the 
apostles and martyrs of God ; they prayed for their perse- 
cutors, and forgave them ! " '* A little later," says the faith- 
ful Fitz-Stephen of himself, " when one of the king's ushers 
would not allow me to speak to the archbishop, I made a 
sign to him, and drew his attention to the Saviour on the 
cross." Many years afterwards, when both of them were in 
exile together at S. Benoit, on the Loire, the archbishop re- 
minded Fitz-Stephen of this little circumstance. 

The bishops, admitted to the king's presence, announced 
the appeal of the archbishop to the Pope, and his inhibition 
to his suffragans to sit in judgment in a secular court on 
their metropolitan. This appeal was again a direct violation 
of one of the Constitutions of Clarendon, sworn to by 
Becket in an oath still held valid by the king and his 

Quasi pila minantia pilis," quotes Fitz-Stephen. 

1 ti I 

362 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

barons. The king appealed to the council. Some seized 
the occasion of boldly declaring that the king had brought 
this trouble upon him by advancing to a giddy eminence a 
low-born man. All agreed that Becket was guilty of perjury 
and treason. Some barons came out to attempt a compro- 
mise. Becket replied : " I have appealed from the judgment 
of the bishops, who dealt too harshly with me in the instance 
of neglect of court. I forbid their proceeding any further in 
judgment on me. I appeal from their sentence, and place 
myself under the protection of the sovereign Pontiflf." The 
die was cast, there was now no retreat. The barons with- 
drew, muttering alarming hints of how refractory prelates 
might be dealt with.^ The king now endeavoured to force 
the bishops to join the assembly of nobles and barons in 
passing sentence on the archbishop. They were thrown into 
confusion, and pleaded the prohibition of the primate. 
Roger of York left the council-chamber, calling to his 
clerks, " Let us be off and not wait to see how his lordship 
of Canterbury will be dealt with." " No," replied one of his 
clerks, " I shall remain. He cannot suffer in a better cause." 

Bartholomew of Exeter threw himself at the feet of Becket 
and implored him to have some consideration for them. The 
king was determined to treat them as traitors if they refused 
to condemn the archbishop. "Run away, then," said 
Becket, contemptuously. " All your thoughts are on your 
personal safety, none on the cause of God and the Church." 

Joscelin of Salisbury and William of Norwich, who had 
hitherto supported Becket, now implored him to give way. 
While they were thus urging him the other bishops had come 
to an agreement with the king to appeal to the Pope against 
the prohibition of Becket, and they assured the king that 

* " Stigandum .... nigranti injectutn puteo, perpetuo carceri damnavit. God- 
fredus comes Andegavia? eunuchatorum ante se in pelvi afferri membra fecit." — 

Dec. 29.] •5'. Thomas d Becket. 363 

they were certain to gain their cause, as Becket was clearly 
forsworn in doing that which he had sworn at Clarendon not 
to do. They now came out into the hall where Becket sat, 
and Hilary addressed him in words of cutting bitterness : 
" My lord, at Clarendon, when we were all assembled, and 
the constitutions of the realm were rehearsed, and we were 
required to promise obedience, they were placed before us 
in writing, and we pledged our assent to them, and so did 
you ; we signed our names, but your name headed the sig- 
natures. The king then demanded an oath of us, and our 
seals. We replied that our oaths, as priests, to observe his 
laws in good faith, without dishonesty, ought to be sufficient. 
The king acquiesced in this. And now, my lord, you forbid 
us to take part in the proceedings of the king's courts, which, 
nevertheless, we are bound to do by the laws which we and 
you swore at Clarendon to obey. We therefore hold you to 
be a perjured man, and we can no longer obey an archbishop 
stained with perjury. We appeal to the Pope, and cite you 
to answer in his presence." 

" If we fell at Clarendon," answered Becket, gloomily, 
"we should pluck up courage now. Unlawful oaths are 
not binding on the conscience." 

The bishops withdrew, and Robert, earl of Leicester, and 
Reginald, earl of Cornwall, approached to signify to the arch- 
bishop the sentence of the court. "Hear,. my lord, the 
judgment of the court " 

" I will not listen to it," interrupted Becket. " I was 
deKvered over to the Church by King Henry, ' free from 
responsibility for the past.* I am not bound to plead in the 
case of maladministration of moneys as chancellor. I will 
not listen to the judgment." 

The two earls said they would return to the king and con- 
sult him, and requested the' archbishop to await their return. 

" Am I a prisoner, then ? " he asked. 

364 Lives of the Saints. p)ec. 29. 

" By S. Lazarus, no," answered the earl of Leicester. 

** Then hear me once more," said the archbishop. " I 
decline to receive judgment from the king or you. The 
Pope alone, under God, is my judge. I summon the bishops, 
who have obeyed the king rather than God, before his 
tribunal, and so, protected by the Apostolic See, I leave this 
court ! " 

He rose and walked slowly down the hall, amidst the 
hootings and groans of the crowds, and loud epithets of 
" Traitor ! " and "Perjured ! " In the court below was a heap 
of wood, and he stumbled against one of the logs and nearly 
fell. At this there rose a fresh roar of execrations, and 
Randolf de Broc threw straws at him. "Were it not for 
my order," exclaimed Becket, at the taunt of sneaking away 
like a traitor, " my sword would answer that foul speech." 
He turned on an officer of the court who insulted him and 
called him " kinsman of a gallows-bird," for he had had a 
relative hung. Anselm, the king's illegitinxate brother, met 
him. " Bastard, Catamite ! " were the words which Becket 
flung at him as he passed. 

He mounted his horse, which had been waiting for him at 
the gate. But the outer gate was locked and had no key in 
it. One of his attendants, however, spied a bunch of keys 
hanging in a comer, took them down^ and was fortunate 
enough to open the gate at the first trial. 

In the meantime the king, heating the noise, hastily sent 
a herald to make proclamation that the archbishop was to be 
left unmolested. Outside was a rabble of poor. Becket 
invited them to dine with him, and attended by this swarm 
of rude protectors, he made his way to his lodgings. 

In the night Becket fled from Northampton, attended by 
only two monks and a servant. The weather was wet and 
stormy, but next morning they reached Lincoln. There he 
disguised himself as a monk, dropped down the Witham to 

Dec. 29.] 

S. Thomas a Becket, 365 

a hermitage in the Fens belonging to the Cistercians of Sem- 
pringham ; thence, by cross-roads, and chiefly by night, he 
found his way to Eastry, about five miles from Deal, a manor 
belonging to Christ Church in Canterbury. There he re- 
mained a week. On All Souls* Day he went on board a boat, 
just before morning, and by evening reached the coast of 
Flanders. To avoid observation he landed on the open 
shore near Gravelines. His large, loose shoes made it diffi- 
cult to wade through the sand without falling. He sat down 
in despair. After some delay a sorry nag was hired for a 
shilling, without saddle, and with only a wisp of hay for a 
bridle. But he soon got weary of such riding, and was fain 
to walk, deeming it " easier and more respectable '* so to 
do. He had many adventures by the way. He was once 
nearly betrayed by gazing with brightening eyes on a falcon 
upon a young squire's wrist ; his fright punished him for this 
relapse into his secular vanities. The host of a small inn 
recognized him from his lofty look and the whiteness of his 
hands, and the way in which he, like a great man, distributed 
morsels from his plate to the children of the house. As he 
walked wearily, a good woman pitied him and offered him a 
stick which was sooty and greasy, for it had been used in her 
chimney for smoking fish. Becket thanked her, and used 
the staff. 

At length he arrived within an hour's row by canal of 
Clair-Marais, near S. Omer. It was Friday. ** My lord," 
said one of his attendants, who looked forward with dismay 
to the sorry fare of the abbey in which they were to reside, 
" we have gone through hardships ; may we not have a dis- 
pensation to eat meat ? " 

** To-day is Friday," answered the archbishop. 

" But there may be a scarcity, of fish in the abbey," re- 
joined the clerk. "That must be as God wills," answered 

366 Lives of the Saints. [i>ec. 29. 

At S. Omer he was joined by Herbert de Bosham, who had 
been left behind to collect what money he could at Canter- 
bury; he brought but 100 marks and some plate. 

He had an interview there with the grand justiciary, De 
Lucy, on his way from Compostella. De Lucy told Becket 
not to reckon on his support. "You owe me homage,'* 
said Becket, " and must not speak to me in this style." 
" I return the homage," answered De Lucy. " It is mine 
by right, and not yours by loan," replied the archbishop, 

In the first excess of indignation at Becket's flight, the 
king had sent orders for strict watch to be kept in the ports 
of the kingdom, especially Dover. The next measure was 
to pre-occupy the minds of the count of Flanders, the king 
of France, and the Pope against his fugitive subject. Henry 
could not but foresee how formidable an ally the exile might 
become to his rivals and enemies, how dangerous to his ex- 
tensive but ill-consolidated foreign dominions. He sent at 
once ambassadors to the king of France, and to Pope Alex- 
ander III., then at Sens. 

The rank of his ambassadors implied the importance of 
their mission. They were the archbishop of York, the 
bishops of London, Exeter, Chichester, and Worcester, the 
earl of Arundel, and three other distinguished nobles. The 
same day that Becket passed to Gravelines, they crossed from 
Dover to Calais. 

The ambassadors were coldly received by Louis VII., who 
had motives of his own for hating Henry. They obtained 
nothing from him. On the contrary, he wrote a strong letter 
urging Becket's cause to the Pope. At Sens their reception, 
if less openly unfavourable, was equally unsuccessful. Alex- 
ander was in a position of extraordinary difficulty ; on one 
side were gratitude to King Henry for his pious support, and 
the fear of estranging so powerful a sovereign, on whose un- 
rivalled wealth he reckoned as the main strength of his 

Dec. 29-] *^- Thomas a Becket. 367 

cause ; on the other, it was his interest to support the privi- 
leges of the Church. 

Beckefs messengers, before the reception of Henry's 
ambassadors, were admitted by Alexander to a private inter- 
view. The account of Becket's "fight with beasts" at 
Northampton, had drawn tears from the Pontiff's eyes. 
" Your master," said Alexander, " although he is living in the 
flesh, may claim the privilege of martyrdom." The ambas- 
sadors of Henry were received in state in the open consis- 
tory. Foliot of London began with his usual ability ; his 
warmth at length betrayed him into the Scriptural citation, 
'* The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth." " Forbear," 
said the Pope. " I will forbear him," answered Foliot. " It 
is for thine own sake, not for his, that I bid thee thus for- 
bear," said the Pope, sternly. " I see plainly that thou hatest 
and persecutest an innocent man." 

This argument was taken up by Hilary of Chichester, who 
had an overweening confidence in his own eloquence. But 
a fatal blunder in Latin elicited from the Italian ifollowers of 
the Pope a burst of merriment — " Oportuebat '' was too bad 
for Italian ears. " So you have got badly into port at last," 
said one ; and the abashed prelate was unable to proceed with 
his address. The archbishop of York next spoke with prudent 
brevity. He was followed by the bishop of Exeter. And 
then the earl of Arundel asked to be heard in his native 
tongue. " My lord," he said, " we who do not know Latin 
have not understood a word of all that the bishops have 
said." His speech was mild, grave, and conciliatory, and 
therefore the most embarrassing to the Pontiff. He and the 
bishops entreated that legates invested with full powers might 
be sent to England to decide the points in dispute. Alex- 
ander agreed to send legates, but would not invest them with 
full powers. He mistrusted the venahty of his cardinals. 
" To hear appeals ourselves is a privilege we will never con- 
sent to surrender," he said. 

368 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

The ambassadors retreated in haste ; their commission 
had been limited to a few days. The bishops hastened 
home with precipitation, hearing that certain knights of the 
neighbourhood, affecting great enthusiasm for the cause of 
Becket, were waiting to plunder their baggage and persons 
on the way. 

Far different was the progress of the exiled primate. As 
he entered France he was met by the king's brothers, and 
offered ample funds for the maintenance of himself and 
household from the royal treasury. He was received by the 
king of France at Soissons, and at the head of a splendid 
retinue of 300 horsemen entered Sens in triumph. The 
Pope at once granted him the honour of a public audience ; 
he placed Becket on his right hand, and would not allow 
him to rise to speak. Becket, after a recital of his persecu- 
tion, spread before the Pope the Constitutions of Clarendon. 
They were read, and the consistory raised their hands in 
pious horror, and exclaimed against the interference with 
ecclesiastical immunities. On further examination the Pope 
acknowledged that six of them were less evil than the rest ; 
on the remaining ten he pronounced his unqualified con- 
demnation. He rebuked the weakness of Becket in swear- 
ing to these articles, alnd had only praise to bestow on him 
for his subsequent violation of his oath. Next day, by what 
seems to be a skilful mode of getting rid of certain objec- 
tions which had been raised concerning his election, or 
with desire of ridding himself of an office which would be 
barren of profit and conducive to much inconvenience, he 
tendered the resignation of his archiepiscopate to the Pope. 
He had already been offered brilliant advancement in France. 
But the Pontiff could not afford to lose a firm supporter of ec- 
clesiastical immunities in England. The conduct of the other 
English bishops showed that they were indifferent to their 
preservation, and he restored to Becket his archiepiscopal 

Dec. 29.] S. Thomas d Becket. 369 

ring, thus satisfying his primacy. He assured Becket of his 
protection, and committed him to the hospitable care of the 
abbot of Pontigny. " You have long lived in ease and 
opulence," he said ; " now learn the lessons of poverty from 
the poor." 

In his seclusion of Pontigny Becket cultivated holiness 
by putting on the coarse Cistercian dress, and living on the 
hard and scanty Cistercian fare. Outwardly, he still main- 
tained something of his old magnificence, and called for the 
remonstrance of some of his friends. But it was whispered 
by his admirers, with pious exultation, that he wore sack- 
cloth next his skin, and was overrun with lice. The sack- 
cloth was changed but once every forty days, " pur vers et 
pur suur." ^ At night he lay on the floor, and every even- 
ing was scourged by his chaplain. His health suffered. 
Wild dreams — so reports one of his attendants — haunted his 
broken slumbers, of cardinals plucking out his eyes and 
assassins cleaving his tonsured crown. 

Henry, on receiving the report of his ambassadors, gave 
rein to his wrath ; he sequestrated the estates of the arch- 
bishopric, and forbade the payment of Peter's Pence to the 
Pope who supported his contumacious subject. He went 
further, in a fit of that indiscriminating and intemperate rage 
which sometimes overcame him and led him into fatal mis- 
takes. In the depth of winter he banished all Becket's rela- 
tives. Four hundred persons, it is said, of both sexes, of 
every age, even infants at the breast, were driven out of Eng- 
land with inhuman precipitation. The monasteries of Flan- 
ders and of France received the exiles. But their presence 
served to excite general indignation against the king who 
had ordered their expatriation. 

For two years Becket sought rest in fasting and prayers, 
and found it not. In his bosom rankled a bitter sense of 

1 Guerner de Pont S. Maxence. 

370 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

the wrong done him, and impatience to revenge it on the 
sovereign who had once been his friend, but was now his 
deadliest enemy. Henry was in France. Becket was 
suffering from a swollen cheek and toothache. This, though 
it. may have increased his merits, did not mollify his temper.^ 
He became more and more irritated against Henry, and his 
attendants did not fail to fall in with his humour, and urge 
him to an extreme course. Three times, by letter, did the 
exile cite his sovereign, in the tone of a superior, to submit 
to his censure. In the first message the haughty meaning was 
veiled in blandest words, and sent by a Cistercian of demean- 
our gentle as his name, Urban. The king returned a short 
and bitter answer. The second time Becket wrote in severer 
language, but yet in the spirit, it is said, of compassion and 
leniency. The king deigned no reply. His third messenger 
was a tattered barefoot friar. To him Becket, it might 
seem, with studied insult, not only intrusted a letter to the 
king threatening him with Divine vengeance, but authorized 
the friar to speak in his name. With such a messenger the 
message was not likely to lose in asperity. The king re- 
turned an answer even more contemptuous than the address.^ 
Alexander III. had strongly urged moderation on Becket 
till Easter. Alexander was settling himself in Rome, and 
his fears of the anti-Pope, Paschal, getting the support of 
Henry, made him anxious to avoid exasperating the angry 
monarch. The letter of the Pope had made Easter the 
limit of forbearance. The wrathful archbishop, chafing 
under his toothache and his wrongs, spent the holy passion- 
tide in drawing up lists of conscription of those who had in 
any way incurred his condemnation, that he might cast them 
out of the Church and cut them off from the fountains of 

^ Edward Grim says he was relieved at last by the extraction of two teeth. 
3 " Quin potius dura propinquantes, dura pro duris, immo multo plus duriora 
prioribus, reportaverunt." — De Bosham. 

Dec. 29.] '5'. Thomas a Becket. 371 


salvation. The sentence was deferred at the earnest request 
of some, or it would have been launched at Easter. But on 
the Sunday after Ascension Day,* the archbishop read from 
the pulpit of the abbey church of Vezelay, to a mixed con- 
gregation, the long list of those whom he delivered over to 
damnation. The bishop of Salisbury he suspended for 
having inducted John of Oxford into the deanery of Salis- 
bury without the consent of one or two canons of that 
church, who were with him in exile. He hardly refrained 
from excommunicating the king by name, being held back 
by compunction on hearing that Henry was seriously ill. 
John of Oxford, the archdeacon of Poitiers; Richard de 
Lucy, and John of Baliol, the authors of the Constitutions of 
Clarendon, for having dared to recollect and record the 
traditional laws of England which warred against ecclesias- 
tical privileges ; Ranulf de Broc, Hugh de Clare, and many 
others who had usurped the estates of the see of Canter- 
bury, fell under his condemnation. The whole congrega- 
tion, we are told, stood aghast. 

The sentence of excommunication Becket announced to 
the Pope and to the bishops of England. He commanded 
Gilbert of London and his other suffragans to publish the 
edict in their dioceses. The bishops met, and sent a' letter 
to Becket, couched in terms of caustic irony. " Whatever 
disturbances your unexpected departure to so great a dis- 
tance has produced among us, we had hoped, by God's 
grace and your humble- mindedness, might have been settled. 

" It was consolatory to us to hear from all sides that in your 
exile you indulged in no vain imaginations, but bore with 
modesty the indigence to which you are reduced by your 
own acts. It was told us that you were devoted to study 
and prayer, and that you strove to redeem by fasting and 
vigils and penance the time you have squandered, and were 

* So the letter of John of Salisbury to Bishop Bartholomew of Exeter. 

372 L ives' of the Saints. [Dcc 29. 

carving the road to perfection. But now we hear that you 
have sent the king a denunciatory letter, without affixing to 
it the ordinary salutations, and that you threaten him with 
an interdict. Should this sentence so bitterly denounced 
be as rigidly executed, the hope of tranquillity will be gone, 
and all that will remain will be irreconcilable hatred. The 
king raised you to your present elevation against the advice 
of his mother, and the voice of the whole kingdom ; the 
Church also, as far as she was able, mourned and murmured 
at it. What will be said of the way in which you repay his 
favours ? Spare your good fame, and respect your honour. 
Remember that the king was appointed by God, and that 
he provides for the peace of his subjects. It is to preserve 
this peace to the Church and people committed to his care 
that he requires the dignities granted to his ancestors to be 
confirmed to himself. By what justice, by what law. or 
canon can you assail him with an interdict, and (God forbid 
the deed ! ) hew him off by the spiritual axe from Christian 
unity ? It is praiseworthy not to be carried away by pas- 
sion. You have also condemned, without inquiry, the 
bishop of Salisbury and his dean, following the heat of your 
passion rather than the cool course oif justice. This is a 
novelty indeed, not, as we believe, contained in the canons, 
to condemn a man first and then hear his cause." The 
letter concluded with a notice of appeal to the Pope. 

When Henry heard that his officers had been excom- 
municated, and that he himself was threatened, his wrath 
drove him almost mad. No one dared to name Becket in 
his presence. The ports were guarded against the threatened 
interdict, and an oath was exacted of all adults by the 
sheriffs that they would respect no ecclesiastical censure 
from the archbishop. Henry's passion betrayed him again 
into an act which strengthened his adversary's hold on the 
popular sentiment. He threatened the Cistercian Order 
with confiscation if they harboured the traitor. The abbot 

Dec. 29.] 'S' Thomas a Becket. 373 

of Pontigny did not dare to risk the vengeance of the 
king on the abbeys of his Order in England, and Becket 
withdrew to Sens. From thence he indited an angry 
letter to the bishop of London. " You complain that the 
bishop of Salisbury has been inhibited, without citation, 
without hearing, without judgment. Remember the fate 
of Ucalegon. He trembled when his neighbour's house 
was on fire." 

Gilbert, bishop of London, who had been placed in charge 
of the confiscated revenues of the see of Canterbury, had 
paid them into the royal chancery. "The goods of the 
Church, the patrimony of the crucified Saviour," wrote 
Becket, " I claim of you. Pay them back to me within forty 
days, without excuse, and without delay." 

Gilbert answered his letter by a lengthy remonstrance, 
couched in solemn, almost pathetic tones : 

"With the promise fresh on your lips that you would 
not leave the kingdom without the king's consent, you 
attempted to fly the realm. The words of a priest should 
always be the companions of truth. You say it is an 
unheard of thing that an archbishop should be cited in 
the king^s . court to render an account of former money 
transactions, but you forget that it was an unheard-of thing 
to translate suddenly a man from one day following dogs and 
hawks, to bending next day before the altar, and ministering 
sacred things before all the bishops of the realm. You fled 
at night in disguise, as if your life were in danger, out of the 
kingdom, though no one was pursuing you ; and now you 
call on us to encounter death for the sake of Christ's Church. 
Truly, if we consider the treasures in store for us in heaven, 
we "shall not regard the things of earth. For tongue cannot 
tell, nor intellect comprehend, the joys of the heavenly city. 
And, indeed, our momentary tribulations here will work out" 
for us an exceeding weight of glory. But all this I have long 
cherished in my bosom, all this has been the subject of my 

374 Lives of the Saints, fDec. 29. 

aspirations. This head, which still rests on my shoulders, 
would long ago have fallen by the sword of the executioner, 
if it could have ensured the favour of God upon my earthly 
pilgrimage. But it is the cause, and not the stroke, that 
makes the martyr. To suffer persecution for holiness is 
glorious, but obstinacy and perverseness are ignominious. 
You bent the knee at Clarendon, you ran away at Northamp- 
ton ; and now with some effrontery you, from a place of se- 
curity, urge us to rush upon certain death. The sword hangs 
over us from which you escaped. It would appear that your 
revenues are so dear to you that you would freely spill our 
blood to recover them. Yet even the Jews spurned the 
money Judas brought back, because it was the price of 
blood. Blessed be God, this is no question of schism of 
faith, no question about the sacraments, or about morals. Our 
faith thrives with the king, the bishops, and the people. All 
the articles of the Creed are adhered to by the clergy of the 
realm. And if in morals we sometimes go astray, yet no one 
defends his evil doings, but all hope by repentance to be 
washed clean. The whole strife is about certain laws of the 
ancestors of the king, sanctioned by long usage, which he 
wishes to be observed towards himself. The tree long 
planted, and with widespread roots, cannot be plucked up 
in a day. May it please you to remember that our Lord 
bade His disciples imitate the example of a child, who, 
though wronged, is not angry, and soon forgets an injury, 
and compensates for all by the innocence and happiness of 
its life." 

The bishops sent a lengthy epistle to the Pope, who was 
now at Rome, though not safe there, threatened by the re- 
doubtable emperor, Frederick Barbarossa. John of Oxford, 
dean of Salisbury, who had been excommimicated by Becket, 
^as the bearer of the letter. Becket also wrote to the Pope 
to counteract the influence of the dean of Salisbury. He 

Dec. 29.] ^- Thomas a Becket. 375 

described the king as a malignant tyrant ; he represented 
Christ as crucified afresh in the person of himself, and he 
deprecated the sending of legates to try his case. Whilst 
John of Oxford was in Rome, Frederick Barbarossa was col- 
lecting the mighty army which swept, during the next year, 
through Italy, made him master of Rome, and witnessed his 
coronation and the enthronement of the anti-Pope. Pope 
Alexander could not afford to quarrel with Henry of Eng- 
land. He confirmed John of Oxford in the deanery of Salis- 
bury, but wrote to Becket to apologize for so doing. He 
was obliged to do so, he said, through fear of offending the 
English king. Vast sums of English money were at this 
time pouring into Italy, to be expended in the support of 
Alexander against the emperor Frederick. The king of 
Sicily, the Frangipani, and the family of Peter Leonis were 
retained in their fidelity to the Pope by this means. Henry 
bribed the cardinals, and all who had access to the ear of 
the Pope. Becket complained piteously that Henry had 
boasted of having found everything venal in Rome. 

In December, 1 166, the Pope conceded what the king and 
the English bishops had long demanded. He appointed Wil- 
liam of Pavia, cardinal of S. Peter's, and Otho, cardinal of 
S. Nicolas, to be his legates in France, to decide the cause 
of Becket, and, in the meantime, suspended all Becket's 
acts, by papal authority. At the same time Alexander III. 
wrote to the archbishop to entreat him to be more moderate, 
and, if necessary, to use dissimulation,^ on account of the 
difficulties of the times. 

John of Oxford hastened back to England with the joyful 
tidings. Becket and his friends were in despair. They could 
only hope, if not pray, for- the death of the feeble Pope. 
**The Pope has strangled the Church 1" exclaimed the arch- 
bishop. He had no confidence in the integrity of the 

^* " Si non omnia secundum beneplacitum succedant, ad prsesens dissimulet/' 

376 Lives of the Saints. [i>ec. 29. 

judges. " The one," he wrote, " is weak and versatile, the 
other, treacherous and crafty." 

But the departure of the cardinal legates from Rome was 
delayed with prudent design till the crisis for the Pope was 
past. They did not arrive in France till the autumn of 1 167, 
when already plague had ravaged the army of Frederick, 
and Frederick himself was in full flight with the wreck from 
Rome. The Pope was now no longer in danger, and his 
need for temporizing was at an end. 

But Becket had resolved already to dispute the authority 
of at least one of his judges. William of Pavia, he was satis- 
fied, would not favour him. He wrote a letter to him so full 
of violence that John of Salisbury urgently entreated him, 
and at last persuaded him, to bum it. He wrote a second ; 
it was almost as insolent and intemperate. At last he was 
persuaded to assume a milder tone. To Cardinal Otho, on 
the other hand, his language bordered on adulation. 

In the meantime his warmest and best friend, John of Salis- 
bury, had been indefatigable in his ^entreaties to the arch- 
bishop to be more moderate in his conduct, not to give way 
to the vehemence of his disposition, and to withdraw the 
sentences of excommunication he had showered in such 
abundance. He wrote sorrowfully to his friends, thie arch- 
bishop of Constance and the archdeacon Reginald, that all 
his efforts had ended in disappointment. 

The legates visited Becket at Sens, and then met King 
Henry at Rouen. After long negotiations, purposely pro- 
tractied to gain time, a meeting was agreed upon, to be held 
on the borders of French and English territory, between 
Gisors and Trie. 

Becket was annoyed at being summoned at a time when he 
was unable to gather an imposing suite of horsemen. Louis of 
France and Henry of England came to the appointed place on 
the appointed day, November 23,1167. The night before the 

i>ec 29.J S. Thomas a Becket. 377 

interview took place, the archbishop dreamed that he was 
offered poison in a golden cup. " The dream was verified," 
says Herbert de Bosham, " for Cardinal William of Pavia 
was a man of elegant speech, and smooth and persuasive 
words. He seemed to be actuated by a love of peace ; but 
when his words were considered, they were found to be 
fraught with danger to the liberties of the Church." The 
cardinals urgently entreated Becket to come to terms with 
the king, and return to his Church, and say nothing more 
about the constitutions. **The king will, no doubt, tacitly 
withdraw them. Of this we have a precedent in the case of 
a bishop who bestows holy orders on a clerk ; he does not 
mention the obligation to celibacy, yet the clerk is bound to 
observe it." Becket replied that, " As to the constitutions, 
he would rather bow his neck to the executioner than swear 
to obey them." The appeal of the bishops was next gone 
into. Becket inveighed against their obsequioustiess to the 
crown. He declared that he would submit to no judgment 
but that of the Pope in person. 

The king went to Argences near Caen, and the cardinals 
followed him, and were present when he held there a gather- 
ing of the Norman and English prelates. He was getting 
impatient of delay, and suspected that the cardinal legates 
would play him false in the end. He treated them with dis- 
courtesy. He went out hawking when they expected to meet 
him; and when they did meet, he said, rudely, in an under- 
tone, which they could not fail to hear, " Would to God I 
might never clap eyes on a cardinal again." 

When all were assembled, the king of England said that 
he claimed 44,000 marks of silver on account of revenues 
committed to Becket when he was chancellor, and of which 
the archbishop refused to give account. " His lordship of 
Canterbury," said the bishop of London, " thinks that con- 
secration cancels debts as baptism blots out sin." 

3 78 Lives of the Saints. ^Dec. 29. 

When the assembly broke up, Henry with tears entreated 
the cardinals to rid him of the troublesome churchman. The 
tears of William of Pavia flowed ia sympathy, but Otho 
could hardly suppress his laughter. 

The legates gave no definite answer, but it was arranged 
that envoys should be sent to the Pope for instructions. 
Becket wrote at the same time to Alexander. William of 
Pavia gave notice that, till next S. Martin's Day, Becket must 
abstain from all excommunications and from laying an inter- 
dict on the realm. The Pope, anxious to protract the case 
so as not to offend Henry by approving of the conduct of 
Becket, nor to throw over Becket, who was contending for 
the liberties of the Church, confirmed this inhibition. 
Becket was moved to bitterness of spirit by this hesitation. 
His thunders were restrained for another twelvemonth. He 
complained to Alexander that every deputation from the 
king won fresh concessions. The Pope was at Benevento; 
he could not remain in safety in Rome, and he still needed 
the support of Henry, for Frederick Barbarossa was still a 
danger. He was endeavouring to detach the king of Sicily 
from his alliance with the Pope. Alexander wrote soothing 
letters to Becket to explain that the concessions he made 
were temporary, and would be withdrawn when the difficul- 
ties in which he was placed diminished. " Temporary ! " 
wrote Becket back, in a letter full of indignation. " And 
this at a time when the Church of England is tottering. This 
fatal dispensation will be a precedent for ages. But for me 
and my fellow exiles, all the authority of Rome had ceased for 
ever in England. There had been none to maintain the 
Pope's authority against that of the king." 

Great efforts were made now on all sides to bring about a 
reconciliation. Mediators were appointed, and passed be- 
tween the king and the archbishop. Becket proposed to 
swear obedience to the customs and constitutions of the 

Dec. 29.] *^' Thomas a Becket. 3 79 


realm, " saving the honour of God," instead of the obnoxious 
qualification, ** saving my order." But the mediators in- 
sisted on his throwing himself unreservedly on the mercy of 
the king, without reservation. Becket at length, and with 
great repugnance, yielded. He left them with the impression 
that he had promised to do so ; and a meeting between him 
and the king was appointed to be held on the ensuing feast 
of the Epiphany (1169) at MontmiraiL The king of France 
was to be present, who was then on terms of friendship with 
the king of England. 

On his way to Montmirail, De Bosham whispered in his 
ear a caution not to show weakness as he had at Clarendon. 
The warning was not thrown away. In reply he gave De 
Bosham an expressive look. Becket then threw himself at 
the feet of the king. Henry raised him, and the archbishop 
began to entreat the king to show mercy to the English 
Church. Everyone listened for the important words to 
which this address was a preamble. " On the subject that 
divides us, my lord king,'' said Becket, " I throw myself on 
your mercy and on your pleasure, here in the presence of 
our lord the king of France and the archbishops, princes, 
and others standing round." He paused, and then added 
distinctly, " Saving the honour of my God." 

At this unexpected breach of his agreement, the media- 
tors, even his own most ardent admirers, stood aghast. 
The king burst into a paroxysm of fury, and poured forth a 
torrent of abuse, reproaching the archbishop for pride, vanity, 
and obstinacy. Then turning to the king of France, he 
said, " Take notice, my lord, whatever his lordship of Can- 
terbury disapproves, he will say is contrary to God's honour, 
and so he will be always tripping me up. But that I may 
not be thought to despise God's honour, I will make this 
proposal. There have been kings of England of greater or 
less power than myself. There have been good and holy 

380 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

archbishops of Canterbury before him. Now let him be- 
have towards me as the most holy of his predecessors have 
behaved towards the least of mine^ and I am satisfied." 

All present exclaimed, " Enough condescension for the 
king." Louis of France said, " My lord archbishop, do you 
wish to be more than a saint ? " Becket remained, unmoved. 
" True," he said, ** there have been holier archbishops before 
me, and they extirpated some abuses. If they had rooted 
all out, I should not be exposed to this fiery trial." 

The mediators drew him aside and urged, "Give the 
king due honour, and suppress the offensive phrase. Now 
or never must a reconciliation be made." The papal en- 
voys, the bishops, certain abbots and the nobles present, in 
vain endeavoured to move him. Night came on, and the 
king withdrew one way, and the archbishop another. As 
Becket rode away, his intimate friend, John, bishop of 
Poitiers, reproached him with bringing destruction on the 
Church. The archbishop replied, " Nay brother, take care 
that the Church be not destroyed by you, for by me, by 
God's grace, she shall never suffer." Robert de Haughton, 
one of the clerks of the archbishop, was riding before him. 
His horse stumbled. " Come up," said the rider, ** saving 
the honour of God and my Order." The archbishop heard 
the remark, and his brow contracted, but he said nothing. 

At Chartres, where Louis was sleeping as well as Becket, 
the French king refrained from calling at the lodgings of the 
archbishop, as a mark of his disapproval, and Becket left 
for Sens next day without having seen him. But the popu- 
lace, who had heard that Becket had defied kings, little as 
they understood what the question mooted was, sided with 
the prelate, and received him with shouts of applause as 
he rode into Sens. 

But the peace between the two kings was of brief duration. 
Some acts of Henry towards the Bretons and Poitevins 

Dec. 29.] S' Thomas a Becket. 38 1 

excited the wrath of Louis, and led him to break off his 
alliance with the king of England. 

As Becket had left Mohtmirail, he had caught the scoff of 
a baron, " England and France are both now closed to the 
impracticable man." He was sitting at Sens a few days 
after the meeting, discussing his prospects with his clerks. 
Some of them remarked on France being no longer safe for 
him, and asked whither he would go. Becket replied, 
" Though both England and France be closed to me, I am 
not undone. One thing I am determined not to do — I 
will not apply to those Roman robbers who have no interest 
save in plundering the needy. I will go to Burgundy." At 
that moment an officer of the king of France entered, and 
required Becket to attend him to the king, who was then in 
Sens. " It is to receive notice of banishment," said one of 
the clerks. " Do not forbode ill," said the archbishop ; " you 
are not a prophet, nor of the sons of the prophets." 

When they came to the king's lodgings, Louis threw him- 
self on his knees before the archbishop, and exclaimed, 
" Forgive me, forgive me ! You are the only wise man among 


The envoys of the Pope had received a double set of 
letters to be used as circumstances indicated. They now 
served on Henry letters from the sovereign Pontiff, threaten- 
ing him with the vengeance of the Holy Father if he did not 
come to terms with Becket. 

" And now," says Herbert de Bosham, " the archbishop 
neither could nor would have patience any longer. He 
would not spare those whom even the apostolic Pope had 
by his paramount authority absolved. He smote them with 
the sword of God's Word, and bound them by a sentence of 
anathema, and sent letters of excommunication to the proper 
persons. This sentence was passed on clerks and laymen of 
the court, on some for having received farms belonging to 

382 L ives of the Saints. ^ d^c, ^g. 

his see from the king, during his exile, on others for having 
violently possessed themselves of ecclesiastical property." 

On Palm Sunday the thunders were launched. Gilbert 
Foliot, bishop of London, Joscelin of Salisbury, the arch- 
deacon of Salisbury, Richard de Lucy, grand justiciary, and 
many others, were named. He announced this excommuni- 
cation to the archbishop of Rouen, and reminded him that 
whoever presumed to give meat or drink, or a friendly salu- 
tation to one of these on whom the ban had fallen, subjected 
himself likewise to the same excommunication. "Those 
excommunicate were some of the king's most familiar 
counsellors, and the number of them, some excommunicated 
by name, others by associating with those excommunicated, 
was so great that there was hardly one in the king's chapel 
who could offer his majesty the kiss of peace at the Mass." 

Becket inhibited Roger, bishop of Worcester, when he 
entreated permission to communicate with his brethren. 
" What fellowship is there," he asked, " between Christ and 
Belial ? " An emissary of Becket had the boldness to enter 
S. Paul's cathedral, in London, on Ascension Day, and thrust 
the sentence into the hands of the officiating priest at the 
offertory, and then to proclaim with a loud voice to the 
assembled congregation, "Know all men, that Gilbert, bishop 
of London, is excommunicated by Thomas, archbishop of 
Canterbury, and legate of the Pope." 

He escaped with some difficulty from ill-usage by the 
people. Foliot immediately summoned his clergy. To them 
he declared the illegality, the injustice, the nullity of an ex- 
communication without citation, hearing, or trial, and 
renewed his appeal to the Pope, during which the sentence 
of Becket must remain in abeyance. The dean of S. Paul's 
and all the clergy, except some monastic priests, joined in 
the appeal. The bishop of Exeter declined, nevertheless, to 
give to Foliot the kiss of peace. 

Dec. 29.] ^- Thomas a Becket. 383 

Geoffrey Ridel, archdeacon of Canterbury, was excom- 
municated. The bishop of Hereford was cited to appear at 
Sens before his primate. He could not obtain permission 
to cross the water. The bishop of Winchester was dying. 
" I," he wrote, " sinking under disease and old age, have 
received a summons from the Almighty, and am incapaci- 
tated from appealing to an earthly tribunal." He sent 
money and necessaries to Becket, and published his sentence 
in his cathedral. 

Henry at once sent Gilbert of London to Rome to prose- 
cute his appeal in person, and the bishop of Seez to Louis 
to request the banishment from French soil of the trouble- 
some primate. 

Reginald of Salisbury boasted that, if the Pope should die, 
Henry had the whole college of cardinals in his pay, and 
could name his. Pope. Becket was alarmed at the influence 
of Henry's gold, and he wrote to Vivian, the new papal 
legate, to entreat him to beware of its insidious corruption. 

But Alexander's affairs wore a more prosperous aspect 
now, and he was less dependent on Henry's largesses to his 
partisans. He began, yet cautiously, to show his real bias. 
He appointed as his new legates a lawyer named Gratian, 
nephew of Eugenius III., and Vivian, an advocate, as his 
associate. He wrote, however, to Becket to stay his shower 
of anathemas, and if he had really — ^as he could hardly 
believe — already cast them, then to suspend their powers 
till the appeals were heard. 

The legates first visited King Henry, and Gratian spoke 
firmly and energetically in favour of the course Becket had 
pursued. Vivian, on the other hand, was prepared to see 
that there was reason in what the king urged. He took 
bribes to such an extent that his convoy of rich presents in- 
terfered with his travelling quickly. The interview took 
place at Damport on August 23. It lasted all day: as one 

384 Lives of the Saints. focc. 29, 

legate blew hot, the other blew cold. At sunset the king 
burst out of the council chamber, swearing by the eyes of 
God that he would not submit to the terms imposed on him. 
Gratian firmly said, " Think not to threaten us ; we come 
from a court which is accustomed to command emperors 
and kings." The king then rehearsed before his barons the 
offers he had made, so as to compromise the matter with the 

Another meeting was appointed to be held at Bayeux. 
The king came attended by the archbishops of Rouen and 
Bordeaux, the bishop of Le Mans, and all the Norman pre- 
lates. Only one English bishop appeared — Roger of Wor- 
cester. The king stated his grievances. The ex-chancellor 
would give no account of the money he had received whilst 
in office, and the king believed that he had squandered of it 
as much as 30,000 marks (;£^2o,ooo). Next day the assembly 
met at Le Bar. The king requested the legates to absolve 
his chaplains without any oath; and, on their refusal, he 
sprang on his horse, and swore that he would never be friends 
with Becket, and never restore him to Canterbury, even if the 
Pope were to entreat him. The legates partially gave way, 
and the king returned to the hall of assembly. At length he 
consented to the return of Becket to Canterbury, if one of 
the legates would cross over with him, and absolve those 
labouring under the anathema of the archbishop. Vivian 
consented to do this, but Gratian refused. " Then I care 
not an tgg for you or your excommunications," said the 
harassed monarch. 

The envoys of the Pope were now thoroughly roused into 
hpstility to Henry. There was no getting him to yield to 
Becket the point of unqualified submission. The archbishop 
now again felt himself at liberty to fling his anathemas. He 
wrote to the archbishop of Rouen, announcing that he had 
again proclaimed his excommunications, and threatening to 

Dec. 29.] '5'. Thomas a Becket. 385 

lay the realm under an interdict, and excommunicate the 
king, unless the wrongs done to the see of Canterbury by 
those who had possessed themselves of its lands and bene- 
fices, without his consent, were fully righted. 

But the Pope was still desirous of a reconciliation, and in 
January, 1170, he directed a fresh commission to Rotrou, 
archbishop of Rouen, and Bernard, bishop of Nevers, to 
endeavour to reconcile the king and the archbishop. The 
archbishop of Rouen had been favourably disposed towards 
Becket, till disgusted and alienated by his arrogance and 
violence;^ the bishop of Nevers was a man of moderation, 
who had written a sensible letter to the Pope on the king's 

Becket demanded of the king that 1,000 marks should be 
paid in compensation to those of his family who had been 
banished ; that all those laymen who had taken advantage 
of his absence to possess themselves of lands belonging to 
the Church of Canterbury should be turned out, and that the 
king should give him the kiss of peace. The legates were 
to require the king to fulfil these conditions. The compen- 
sation was, indeed, not to be insisted on, and the kiss was to 
be given, if the king refused it, by his son Henry ; but the 
surrender of all the lands of Canterbury was the point to 
which he was to be held fast. It was not that the king had 
himself appropriated these, but that various laymen had 
done so, and these laymen he was to eject. Curiously 
enough, Becket now demanded that which he had rejected 
with such vehemence before. If th^ ecclesiastical immuni- 
ties were to be maintained, then these invaders of the pro- 
perty of the Church might only be tried in his diocesan 
court, and sentenced to be excommunicated. Excommuni- 
cation had been tried, and had lost its force ; and Becket 

^ "All his actions proceed from eithet- pride or passion," was Rotrou's estimate of 
the character of Becket. " — John of Salisbury. 


386 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

was fain to abandon the principle for which he had battled, 
and appeal to the civil power to eject the usurpers. Conse- 
quently, nothing more was said about ecclesiastical immuni- 
ties, that subject fell into the background. Thenceforth the 
contest was on other points. 

Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, had been to Rome and 
obtained his absolution from the Pope. He proclaimed it at 
Rouen on his way home, and was received to communion 
by the archbishop of Rouen in his cathedral on Easter Day. 

The wrath of Becket broke all bounds. He wrote in angry 
remonstrance to Rotrou, but his fiercest expressions of dis- 
gust were crushed into a letter which he sent to one of the . 
cardinals at Rome. The absolution of Foliot he characterized 
as an unbinding of Satan. " I know," he wrote, " that in the 
court of Rome the Lord's side is always sacrificed — that 
Barabbas escapes and Christ is put to death. . . . With you, 
the wretched, the exiles, the innocent are condemned, be- 
cause they are the poor of Christ, and weak ; while, on the 
other hand, you absolve the sacrilegious, murderers, robbers, 
impenitent, whom Peter himself could not absolve in the 
sight of God. Let him dare (he is speaking of the Pope) to 
bind without regard to the sentence of the coming Judge. 
Let him absolve robbers, sacrilegious men, murderers, per- 
jurers, men of blood, schismatics, without repentance. I will 
never remit to the impenitent the things they have taken 
rom the Church. Is it not our spoils, or rather those of the 
Church, which the king's emissaries use for bribing the 
cardinals at Rome? ... I will no longer trouble that court; 
let those resort thither who prevail in their iniquities !''^ 

In the meantime Henry was busy with preparations for 
the coronation of his eldest son, who, in February, 1170, 
completed his fifteenth year. This was a new cause of alarm 
and anger for Becket. He, as archbishop of Canterbury and 

' S. Thom. Ep. 31. 

Dec. 29] 5*. Thomas a Becket, 387 

primate, claimed the right to crown, and, in his absence, 
that honour would fall to the share of his enemy, the arch- 
bishop of York. He appealed to the Pope to stay this 
interference with the privileges of his see, this audacious 
presumption of the archbishop of York to confer the crown 
and anoint. The Pope sent letters inhibiting the archbishop 
of York and the bishops of England from performing the 
ceremony. The letters arrived the day before the coronation, 
and the archbishop and bishops prudently forgot to open 
them till the ceremony was over. On Sunday, June 14, 
1 1 70, the yovmg Henry was crowned in Westminster Abbey, 
by the archbishop of York, with the assistance of the bishops 
of London, Salisbury, Rochester, Seez, and others. 

The archbishop of Rouen and his colleague now renewed 
their efforts at mediation, and found Henry inclined to peace, 
chiefly through fear of the interdict which he knew was pre- 
pared to be launched. 

Becket was persuaded by the archbishop of Sens to meet 
the king of England at Freteval, between Tours and Char- 
tres; and on July 22 he was admitted to an interview with 
Henry. Immediately on seeing the archbishop approach, 
the king hastened to meet him, and, uncovering his head, 
anticipated him in uttering a salutation. The old points of 
difference were avoided. Nothing was said of the Constitu- 
tions, or of the immunity of the clergy, the inconvenience 
of which Becket now himself experienced. It was promised 
that Becket should be allowed to return to England with all 
his kinsmen and attendants, without any oath being exacted 
from them; and harmony seemed restored. But the late 
coronation rankled in the heart of the primate, and he told 
the king that it was his purpose to inflict excommunication 
on those bishops who had taken part in it. The king said, 
in reply, that his son should be crowned anew by Becket 
along with the princess, his wife. On receiving this promise 

388 Lives of the Saints. ^j^^ ^9. 

Becket was delighted — to recrown him whom the northern 
primate had crowned would be the most notorious exhibition 
of contempt for the person who had dared to perform the 
ceremony. In his joy at the prospect of thus humbling his 
old enemy, he threw himself off his horse, and would have 
cast himself at the feet of the king. But Henry alighted, 
and held the stirrup for the archbishop, to assist him in 

This was a service rendered by emperors to popes, and 
the performance of it by the king of England to a subject 
filled the heart of Becket with pride. 

The king, in accordance with his promise to restore the 
property of the exiles, and of the Church of Canterbury, 
wrote to his son to see to this at once ; but the execution of 
the order naturally met with delay, as the intruders raised 
every possible impediment to their ejection. 

Not one jot of his claims would Becket abate. The castle 
of Rochester he still insisted was his. The castle of Salt- 
wood was less doubtfully the possession of the see ; from this 
Ranulf de Broc must be expelled. 

Finding that the castles and lands were not vacated at 
once, Becket sent to the king to inquire the reason. " The 
king," says Herbert de Bosham, " as his manner was, put 
off, put off, and again put off." 

As for the castle of Rochester, the king entirely disputed 
the right of the archbishop to hold it The place was of im- 
portance, necessary for the defence of the Thames and the 
approach to London, and could not be left in the unarmed 
hands of a priest. 

However, Becket determined to return to Canterbury. 
But, before doing so, he sent a boy across the channel with 
letters of suspension and excommunication pronounced 
against the archbishop of York and those bishops who had 
dared to assist him in his sacrilegious invasion of the prero- 

Dec. 29.] '^- Thomas a Becket. 389 

gatives of the primacy of Canterbury, by crowning Prince 
Henry in Westminster Abbey.^ The king had hoped that 
by consenting to have Henry crowned again by Becket, this 
excommunication would have been obviated. But, no ! Becket 
never forgave an enemy. Before sailing, a rough sea-captain 
remonstrated with Herbert de Bosham, " Are you mad ? The 
whole country is exasperated against the archbishop, espe- 
cially the party of the king, who complain that he has thrown 
everything into confusion by his anathemas and excommuni- 
cations of the bishops, and that, too, at the period of Advent, 
when he ought to be doing his utmost to preserve peace and 

After a favourable passage, Becket landed at Sandwich 
(December 3) with the archiepiscopal banner flying, and with 
the people shouting, " Blessed is he that cometh in the 
name of the Lord ! '* He was met by Gervase de Comhill, 
sheriff of Kent, and others, in arms, asking him to absolve the 
bishops. No ! not in the moment of joy on returning, after 
long exile, to his native land, would he extend forgiveness to 
those who had infringed his prerogatives. After some high 
words, the sheriff and his companions withdrew, at the in- 
stance of John of Oxford. 

On the following day the archbishop proceeded to Canter- 
bury. . The news of his landing had spread, and the general 
enthusiasm among those who had nothing to lose and much 
to gain by his return, rendered his journey a scene of 
triumph. Priests and people crowded to meet him. They 
stripped off their clothes, and spread them in the way, and 
sang, " Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ! " 

Strange resemblance, and yet strange contrast, to the 
Palm Sunday procession. Thomas was on his way to 
martyrdom; and the people, though ignorant of this, seemed 
impelled to copy in detail the incidents of the ride into 

* The archbishop of York was suspended, the other bishops were excommunicated. 

3 90 L ives of the Saints, j-dcc. 29 . 

Jerusalem. But what a contrast, when we look from the 
heart of the Son of David to that of Becket — from the former 
glowing with love, to the latter foaming with' wrath and 
panting for the humiliation of his enemies ! 

As the archbishop entered the cathedral his face was 
flushed with exultation. He gave the monks the kiss of 
peace. De Bosham whispered to him, " My lord, now we 
need not care how soon you leave the world, for this day the 
Church has conquered in you ; " to which Becket replied 
only by a look. 

Next morning the sheriff of Kent, with other officers of 
the king, appeared again, to urge the withdrawal of the sen- 
tence of excommunication launched against the bishops for 
having crowned Prince Henry. They were accompanied by 
some clerks from the prelates themselves, who remonstrated 
against the proceedings of the primate : when his suffragans 
were full of joy at his return, and ready to receive him with 
open arms and honour, they were met with a rebulff, with 
curse and denunciation : they complained that the arch- 
bishop should have returned after his long absence, not as 
the dove with the olive-leaf of peace, but with fire and 
sword, as a persecuting invader, trampling down his bre- 
thren, and making them his footstool. Becket was not to 
be moved. He would only absolve them if they would 
bind themselves by oath to obey the Pope's commands. It 
is said that the bishops of London and Salisbury were dis- 
posed to take this oath under protest of its being unconsti- 
tutionally exacted of them, but were dissuaded by Roger of 
York, who boasted that he had both the courts of the king 
and of the Pope in his pay, and that he was willing to empty 
his coffers, to spend eight, nay ten, thousand pounds, to 
put down Becket*s insolence ; and the three prelates pro- 
ceeded together to the king in Normandy.^ 

* Roger of York was notorious for his pride and avarice. Tke most notorious 

Dec. 29.] ^- Thomas a Becket. 391 

The interval until Christmas was taken up in a visit to 
London, and in turning out clerks who had been intruded 
into livings. 

It was noticed that persons of rank and wealth held aloof 
from him in cold indignation. He was isolated from all 
but the poor, whose love and devotion he bought by abun- 
dant alms. 

In the meantime the archbishop of York and the other 
bishops under excommunication had reached the king at 
Bures, near Bayeux. " My lord," said the archbishop, " I 
alone of the three have the power of opening my mouth 
and speaking to your majesty; for my two colleagues (the 
bishops of London and Salisbury) are excommunicated, 
interdicted the use of fire and water. No one dares hold 
converse with them, for fear of being involved in the sen- 
tence which- that ungrateful man has launched against all 
who were concerned in your son's coronation." 

" By God's eyes,"* exclaimed the king, in a rage, " if all 
who were concerned in my son's coronation are to be ex- 
communicated, I will be one of the number." 

The popular demonstrations with which the archbishop 
had everywhere been received were represented as of a 
seditious tendency. The king was wrought up into one of 
his uncontrollable fits of fury. Gilbert Foliot of London is 
said to have endeavoured, with tears, to mitigate his wrath. 
" Have patience, sire," urged also Roger of York ; " this 
storm cannot last long. Let him go on his own way for the 

** What would you have me do ? " asked the king. " It is 

display of his contentiousness \(ras at a council held by a papal legate in 1176. 
Finding Richard of Canterbury seated in the place which he claimed for himself on 
the ground of his earlier consecration, he sat liimself down in the southern arch- 
bishop's lap — " irreverenter natibus innitens," says Stephen of Birchington (Wharton, 
Angl. Sacr. i. 9), whereupon some of Richard's clerks dragged him down on the floor 
and tore his robes. The legate broke up the council in alarm. 

392 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

not our duty to advise your majesty," answered the arch- 
bishop of York, " you must consult with your barons ; it is 
for them to say what ought to be done." One of thfe pre- 
lates unluckily said — probably Roger of York — " So long as 
Thomas lives, there is no peace for the realm." " A fellow 
who has eaten my bread has lifted up his heel against me ! "^ 
cried the king. " He insults over my favours, dishonours the 
whole royal race, tramples down the whole kingdom. A 
fellow who first broke into my court on a lame horse, with a 
cloak for a saddle, i^aggers on my throne, whilst you, 
false varlets ! look on, and have not attempted to rid me of 
this insolent priest.'' 

These hasty, unconsidered words were heard and caught 
up by four knights, men of high connections, and officers of 
the household — Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Morville, 
William, De Tracy, and Richard le Breton. Stung by the 
king's reproaches, and thinking to gratify him by carrying 
out his apparent wish, the four set out for England and hur- 
ried to the coast, whence, embarking at different ports, twa 
of them were conveyed to Winchelsea, and the others to a 
harbour near Dover. "They landed," says Grim, "at 
Dog's Haven — they who from that time deserved to be 
called dogs and wretches, not knights and soldiers." On 
Holy Innocents Day they reached Saltwood, and were 
received by Ranulf de Broc. 

While this was passing Becket had been subjected to firesh 
annoyances. A shipload of wine sent him from France had 
been seized by Ranulf de Broc, who, however, by order of 
the young king Henry, was obliged to give it up. The 
De Brocs hunted in his chase, killed his deer, carried off his 
dogs, and Robert De Broc, the brother of Ranulf, cut off 
the tail of one of the archiepiscopal sumpter-horses. Bec^et's 
temper was exasperated to the highest pitch by these provo- 
cations. On Christmas Day, at High Mass, after preaching 

Dec. 29.] '5^. Thomas a Becket 393 

on the text, " On earth peace to men of goodwill," he 
passed from the uncongenial subject with flushed cheek and 
flashing eyes to the excommunication, in tones "fierce, 
indignant, fiery, and bold,'* of Nigel de Sackville, for obtain- 
ing the church of Harrow, into which he had been intruded 
during the exile ; of another priest, the vicar of Thirlwood, 
guilty of a like oflence ; and of the brothers De Broc for 
cutting the tail off* his horse, stopping the passage of his 
wines, and for other outrages against the property of the 
Church of Canterbury. The doc^ng his horse's tail 
seemed specially to have rankled in his breast, for he 
spoke of it — the fact is recorded by aU his biographers — 
from the pulpit, and made it one chief reason for pro- 
nouncing excommunication on the De Brocs. He re- 
curred to it again with bitterness when face to face with 
his murderers. As for the three bishops who had not 
shrunk from encroaching on the rights of Canterbury by 
crowning the young king, their excommunication was em- 
phatically renewed. " May they be cursed," he concluded, 
in a voice of thunder, ** by Jesus Christ, and may their 
memory be blotted out of the assembly of the saints, who- 
ever shall sow hatred and discord between me and the 
king ! " An incongruous conclusion to a Christmas sermon 
on a text promising peace and goodwill. 

After the meeting with the bishops at Bures, Henry, act- 
ing on their advice, took counsel with his barons what had 
better be done. The earl of Leicester said : " My lord, the 
archbishop was my father's intimate friend, but since he 
gave up your favour and left the kingdom, we have not 
been in communication." De Bohun, the uncle of the ex- 
communicated bishop of Salisbury, then spoke : " The only 
way to deal with such a fellow is to plait some withes into a 
rope and haul him up on a gallows." 

Finally it was decided that the tutors of the young king 

394 Lives of the Saints. ^oec. 29. 

Henry at Winchester should march privately with the house- 
hold troops to Canterbury, and arrest the primate. The 
absence of the four knights was noticed, and orders were 
sent for their recall. 

It is not clear on what day the fatal exclamation of the 
king was made : Fitz- Stephen reports it as taking place on 
Sunday, the 2 7 th of December ; others date it back to the 24th. 
The knights were at Saltwood on December 28th, and there 
they heard of the new excommunication hurled by Becket 
against their host on jChristmas Day. Early next morning 
they issued orders in the king's name for a troop of soldiers 
to be levied, and attended by Robert de Broc — Ranulf 
was away — they rode into Canterbury and lodged with 
Clarembald, abbot of S. Augustine's, who was a partisan of 
the king and disliked Becket. 

On Tuesday, the 29th of December,^ as the day was 
closing in, the knights rode to the archbishop's palace. It 
was about three o'clock in the afternoon. The knights * 
wore their armour under the ordinary dress of civil life, but 
without weapons. The archbishop's dinner was over, but 
some of his retainers were still at table. Their presence 
was announced. "Let them come in," said Becket; but 
when they entered, with studied disrespect, he did not look 
at them, but continued his conversation with the monk who 
sat next him, and on whose shoulder he was leaning. There 
were then with him John of Salisbury, Fitz-Stephen, and 
Edward Grim, all three of whom have left us a minute 
account of what followed. 

The knights on entering seated themselves on the floor at 
the feet of the archbishop. Becket then turned and gazed 

* Tuesday was a significant day in Becket's life. On a Tuesday he had been 
born, on a Tuesday he had been baptized, on a Tuesday he fled from Northampton, 
on a Tuesday left the king's court in Normandy, on a Tuesday left England an exile, 
on a Tuesday, at Pontigny, had by dream his forewarning of mart3rrdom, on a Tuesday 
returned from exile, on a Tuesday died, and on a Tuesday his relics were translated. 

Dec. 29.] •5'. Thomas a Becket. 395 

steadfastly at them. After a few moments of silence he 
greeted De Tracy by name. The conspirators looked 
mutely at one another, till Fitzurse, who throughout took 
the lead, replied with a scornful expression, "God help you !" 
Becket*s face grew crimson. "We have a message for you 
from the king," said Fitzurse. " Will you hear it in private 
or in public T " As you wish," said the archbishop. ** Nay, 
as you wish," said Fitzurse. "As you wish," repeated 
Becket, and signed to the monks to withdraw. They obeyed, 
but left the door ajar, that they might see and hear what went 
on. Fitzurse had hardly begun to speak before Becket, 
conscious of his danger, hastily recalled the monks, and in 
their presence Fitzurse resumed his statement of the com- 
plaints of the king. It is said that in the moment when they 
were alone with Becket, the thought entered the head of one 
of them to wrest his crozier from him and beat out his brains 
with it. When the clerks had returned, the knights remon- 
strated with the archbishop for having broken his agreement 
with the king, for having suspended and excommunicated 
the bishops who had taken part in the coronation, for ex- 
communicating on Christmas Day some of the servants of 
the king, and for going about the country with formidable 
troops of followers and exciting the people to demonstra- 
tions which endangered the peace of the realm. " You have 
excited disturbances in the kingdom, and the king requires 
you to answer for them at his court." " Never," said the 
archbishop, " shall the sea come between me and my Church 
again, unless I am dragged hence by my feet." " You have 
excommunicated the bishops, and you must absolve them." 
" You must go to the Pope for that," answered Becket. He 
then appealed, in language which is variously reported, 
to the promises of the king at their interview in the pre- 
ceding July, and intimated that these promises had not been 

396. L ives of the Saints, [Dec. 29. 

** What is this you say ? " Fitzurse exclaimed. " Do you 
dare to accuse the king of falsehood?" " Reginald, Regi- 
nald," answered Becket, " I do no such thing ; but I appeal 
to those who were present, and you were one of them." 

" I never saw or heard anything of the sort," said Fitzurse. 
" You were there," said Becket ; " I saw you." 

The knights, irritated by contradiction, swore, " by God's 
wounds," that they had borne with him long enough. Becket, 
in spite of the entreaty of John of Salisbury, continued the 
scene, by bringing forward his complaints. " My sumpter- 
horse's tail has been docked, my casks of wine have been 
carried off." Hugh de Morville answered, "Why have you 
not complained to the king of these outrages, instead of 
punishing them by your own authority ? " 

" Hugh," exclaimed the archbishop, " I wait no man's 
permission to avenge them. I will not give to the king the 
things that are God's. This is my business, and I alone 
will see to it." 

At this haughty and defiant speech the knights sprang up, 
and their rage manifested itself in their infuriated gestures. 
" You threaten us !" exclaimed Fitzurse, wringing his long 
gloves in the excitement of his passion. " Are you about to 
excommunicate us also ? " " He Jhas excommunicated too 
many already," muttered one of the others. 

" You threaten me in vain," said Becket, also springing up ; 
'* were all the swords in England drawn against me, you 
could not scare me from my obedience to God and the 

" Who are on the king's side ? " asked Fitzurse. " Let 
them stand off." No one withdrew. Fitzurse cried, " Guard 
him, lest he escape." " I shall not fly," said the archbishop. 
They went to the door. One said, " It is you who threaten 
us," and he muttered something in an undertone. The 
archbishop caught the words and ran after them to fling 

Dec. 29.] ^' Thomas a Becket. 397 

after them the last defiance : " I did not come here to run 
away, and I care nothing for your threats." 

On entering the palace the knights had posted their 
followers opposite the gate. These were now called in, and 
the gate was fastened. The knights threw off their cloaks 
and gowns under a large sycamore in the garden, and girt 
on their swords. The servants of the archbishop fastened 
the door of the hall. In the meantime John of Salisbury 
was urging Becket to moderaJ:ion. "It is wonderful, my 
lord," he said, "that you never take anyone's advice; it 
always was so, and always is your way, to do and say just 
what seems good to yourself alone." "What would you 
have me do ? " asked Becket. " You ought to have con- 
sulted your friends, knowing that these men only seek occa- 
sion to kill you." " I am prepared to die," said the arch- 
bishop. " But we are not," added John ; <* so far as I can see 
no one cares to die without a cause, except yourself." The 
archbishop answered, "Let God*s will be done." The 
■dialogue was interrupted by one of the monks rushing in to 
announce that the knights were arming. " Let them arm," 
said Becket. Presently the blows of an axe were heard, as 
if the knights were trying to break down the door of the 
hall. Terrified by this noise, the monks and clergy fled in 
all directions. " All monks are cowards," said Becket, look- 
ing after them scornfully. A small band of intimate friends 
and faithful attendants remained by him. They dragged 
him along the cloister towards the cathedral. Two locked 
doors had to be passed, the first lock had to be wrenched off. 
Two cellarers, attracted by the noise, ran upon the other 
side and pulled off the second lock.^ The archbishop 
struggled to get loose, his attendants pulled and pushed him. 
" Let me go, do not drag me ! " he continued crying, and 
once he stubbornly refused to proceed till his crozier was 

* Benedict of Peterb. 64. 

398 Lives of the Saints. f^^^, ^^ 

brought and carried before him. At last they reached the 
door at the lower north transept of the cathedral, by the 
chapel of S. Benedict, from which a flight of steps led into 
the choir. A& he entered, the knights were seen at the 
further end of the cloister, in pursuit. His attendants at- 
tempted to shut the door, and urged him to escape up the 
flight of steps in the wall to the chapel of S. Blaze, or 
hide in the triforium. But Becket was determined to be a 
martyr. He would not be saved from the death that 
threatened. He forced the attendants from the door and 
threw it open for the knights to enter, shouting to his clerks, 
"Away, you cowards! The church must not be turned 
into a castle." 

Then the ecclesiastics who had clung to him fled in every 
direction, some to altars in the side chapels, some to the 
secret chambers in the roof and walls of the minster. 

Vespers were in progress when the archbishop entered, but 
were interrupted by the scuffle. 

Becket was ascending the steps into the choir, when 
Fitzurse rushed in from the cloister, shouting, " King's men ! 
King's men ! " Then stumbling in the dusk against a clerk, 
he asked, " Where is Thomas Becket, where is the traitor?'* 
"Reginald," answered Becket, "here I am; no traitor, 
but a priest of God. What do you want ? " And he descended 
the steps to meet him, and planted himself between the 
pillar that supports the chapel of S. Blaze and the wall that 
forms the south-west comer of the chapel of S. Benedict. 
Here the knights and their followers gathered round him, 
whilst De Morville kept back the crowd which poured in at 
the west doors of the minster. 

" Absolve the bishops whom you have excommunicated," 
said the knights. "Never," answered Becket, "till they 
have made satisfaction." The knights tried to lift him on 
the shoulders of De Tracy, to carry him out of the church. 

Dec. 29.] •5'. Thomas a Beckei. 399 

Beeket struggled furiously, and flung De Tracy down on the 
pavement. Fitzurse held him by the collar of his long 
cloak, and said, " Come with us, you are our prisoner." 

" Scoundrel ! "^ exclaimed Beeket, " I will not fly," and he 
wrenched the cloak from his grasp. Tracy had risen. Grim 
threw his arms round Beeket and vainly endeavoured to 
draw him away. Fitzurse, brandishing his sword, stepped 

" Reginald ! " gasped the archbishop, " do not touch me ; 
you owe me fealty ! you pander." At this intolerable word 
the knight " glowed all over," and, striking with the point of 
his sword, dashed off" his cap. The archbishop covered his 
eyes with his joined hands, bent his head, and committed 
his cause to God and the saints. Tracy then raised his 
sword, and Grim, wrapping his arm in a cloak, lifted it to 
ward ofl" the stroke ; but the weapon almost severed the 
monk's arm, and descending on the archbishop's head, cut 
ofl* the tonsured part of his crown. The next blow, whether 
struck by Tracy or Fitzurse, was with the flat of the sword. 
Beeket recoiled, half stunned, and put his hands over his 
bleeding head. When the blood began to run over his face, 
he wiped it away with his arm, and said, " Into Thy hands, 
O Lord, I commend my spirit." 

At the third blow he sank on his knees, with the hands 
clasped in prayer. " For the name of Jesus, and the defence 
of the Church, I am willing to die," he gasped, turning his 
face towards the altar of k Benedict. Then, without moving 
hand or foot, he fell flat on his face with such dignity that 
his mantle which wrapped him was not disarranged. In 
this posture he received from Richard le Breton a tremendous: 
blow which snapped the sword on the pavement. Then 
Hugh Mauclerc, a subdeacon of the household of De Broc, 
put his foot on the neck of the corpse, and with the point 

' ** Vir abominabilis."— Gervase of Canterbury. 

400 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ a^. 

of his sword drawing out the brains, scattered them over the 

The murderers then rushed out of the church shouting, 
and, entering the palace, carried off all the papal bulls and 
letters they could lay hands on, and plundered it of gold and 
furniture to the value of 2,000 marks. 

The crowd that flodced in from the town surrounded the 
body. There was a division of opinion then, as in his life- 
time ; some said that he had properly suffered for his obsti- 
nacy, some that " He wished to be king and more than a 
king ; let him be a king now." Whatever horror was felt, 
was not at the murder, but at the desecration of the church 
with blood. At last the cathedral was cleared, and the gates 

The monks had long felt jealous at the elevation of the 
gay chancellor to the archbishopric. The primacy involved 
the abbacy of the cathedral monastery, and the primates had 
been, with scarcely any exceptions, chosen from among the 
monks. When they came to take off the clothes of the 
dead archbishop, they found to their delight that he wore 
under his ordinary dress the black habit of a monk ; when 
they further found that beneath this habit was a hair-shirt 
and hair-cloth drawers, their delight became enthusiastic; and 
when they further discovered that this hair-cloth was " boil- 
ing over" with lice, their enthusiasm became hysterical 
transport^ His body was buried, the morning after the 
murder, by the Cistercian Abbot of Boxley, before the altars 
of SS. Augustine and John, in the crypt of the cathedral. 

The Lambeth biographer says that some persons, however, 
argued that it was absurd to call Becket a saint and martyr, 
as his pretence of justice was merely a cloak for pride and 
vainglory; that he was lacking in charity, without which a 

* Tliey Inughed and cried in wild excitement, sa3' Roger of Hoveden and Gamier 
du Pout S. Maxence. 

Dec. 29] •^* Thomas a Becket. 401 

man may give his body to martyrdom, and it will profit him 
nothing ; that the cause for which he died was not a good 
one, and that even if it had been a good cause, his character 
and conduct in its defence had disqualified him from being 
regarded as a saint. In defiance of Papal canonization and 
popular enthusiasm, it was mooted before the university of 
Paris whether the death of Becket was to be regarded as a 
just execution or a martyrdom.^ 

Not long after the murder, the archbishop of York ven- 
tured to declare that Becket had perished, like Pharaoh, in 
his pride. But the multitude persisted in believing that 
miracles were wrought by his relics. The papal court, vacil- 
lating, and often unfriendly in his lifetime, now took up his 
cause with vigour. In 1172 legates were sent by Alex- 
ander III. to investigate the alleged miracles, and, in 11 73, 
a council was called at Westminster to hear letters from the 
Pope, authorizing the invocation of the martyr as a saint. 
In the course of the same year he was regularly canonized. 

His murderers were let off very easily. Legend asserts 
that, struck with remorse, they went to Rome, to receive the 
sentence of Pope Alexander III., and by him were sent to 
expiate their sins in the Holy Land, where within three years 
they died. De Tracy alone, it was said, was detained by 
contrary winds at Cosenza in Calabria, and died there, tear- 
ing his flesh off his bones with his teeth and nails, and 
shrieking, " Mercy, Thomas, mercy 1 " But this is merely 
the fabrication of churchmen ill-satisfied with their real fate. 
The judgments of God are not as the judgments of men. 
Fitzurse went to Ireland, and became the ancestor of the 

1 Caesar. Heisterbach. vlii. 69. *' Beatus Thomas Episcopus Cantuariensis qui 
nostris temporibus pro ecclesiae libertate usque ad mortem dimicavit, nullis miraculis 
in suis persecutionibus coruscavit, satisque de illo post occisionem disputatum est. 
Quidam dixerunt eum damnatum ut regni proditorem ; alii martyrem uti ecclesiae 
defensorem. Eadem quaestio Parisiis inter magistratus ventilata est. Nam magister 
Rugerus juravit ilium dignum fuisse morte, etsi non tali, beati viri constantiam 
judicans contumaciam.'' 


402 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 29. 

M^Mahon family. De Morville was dismissed from his 
office of justice itinerant of Northumberland and Cumber- 
land, and in the first year of King John is recorded to have 
paid twenty-five marks and three good palfreys for holding 
his court. He procured a charter for a fair and market at 
Kirk Oswald, and died shortly afterwards, leaving two 
daughters. Within four years after the murder, De Tracy 
was justiciary of Normandy, and was present at Falaise in 
1 1 74, when William, king of Scotland, did homage to 
Henry II.; he was succeeded in his office, in 1176, by the 
bishop of Winchester; The present Lord Wemyss and Lord 
Sudeley are his lineal descendants. The pedigree, contrary to ^ 
all received opinions on the subject of judgments on sacri- 
lege, exhibits the very singular instance of an estate descend- 
ing for upwards of seven hundred years in the male line of 
the same family.^ 

Henry 11. hardly escaped excommunication and an inter- 
dict on his realm for his share in the murder. A reconcilig.- 
tion was at last effected with the Pope, on these terms. 
Henry stipulated to maintain two hundred knights at his 
own cost in the Holy Land, to abrogate the statutes of 
Clarendon, and reinvest the church of Canterbury in all the 
possessions and rights of which it had been deprived. He 
was reconciled in the porch of the cathedral of Avranches. 
But a further humiliation was in store for him. The crown 
of England was to have its Canossa, as well as that of Ger- 

In 1 1 74 Henry had to submit to open penance before the 
shrine of the martyr, to bare his back to the scourge 
willingly administered by the monks of Canterbury on his 
bare shoulders. 

S. Thomas k Becket was not a martyr for any article of 

^ See full particulars about the fate of the murderers in Dean Stanley's " Memorials 
of Canterbury." 

Dec' 29.] S. Thomas a Beckei. 403 

faith, or for the cause of pure morality. He was not a 
martyr for the rights of the Catholic Church, not a martyr 
even for the immunity of the clergy, but solely for the right 
of the archbishop of Canterbury to crown a king of England ; 
hay, hardly even for that, for Henry had consented to have 
his son recrowned by Becket He was a martyr for the 
cause of his own resolution to punish with excommunication 
those who had dared to infringe this right. 

S. Thomas is represented in art, erroneously, as martyred 
in full archiepiscopal canonicals before the high altar. A 
sword transfixes his head. 

Such of his relics as remain are — a chasuble at Sens, a 
fragment of his tunic, and some portion of his brains at 
S. Maria Maggiore in Rome. 

Caesarius of Heisterbach relates a miracle wrought by the 
bridle of the saint's horse (viii. 70). There is a curious 
account in the life of Erasmus of a visit paid by him and 
Dean Colet to the shrine of S. Thomas.^ 

* For an elaborate account of the shrine and its fortunes and fate, see Dean Stanley's 
* * Memorials of Canterbury." 

M ►* 

404 Lives of the Saints. [Dec 30. 

December 30. 

S. LiBERius I., B. of Ravenna ; circ. a.d. 206. 

SS. Sabinus, B.M. of Assisit and Others, MM. at S^oleto; circ. 

A.D. 30Z. 
S. Anysia, V.M. at Thessalonica ; a.d. 304. 
S. Anysius, B, of Thessalonica ; circ, a.d. 410. 
S. EuGBNius, B. o/Milan,^ 
S. JocuNDUs II., B. o/Aosta; a.d. 860. 
B. Margaret Colonna, V. at Rome; a.d. 1284. 
B. Sebastian Walfre, C. at Verdun: a.d. 17x0. 


(about A.D. 206.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Venerated at Ravenna on April 29 and 
Dec. 30.] 

IBERIUS is one of the first bishops of Ravenna 
of whom we know anything, and that little is 
confined to his name. The church of Ravenna 
is said to have been founded by S. Apollinaris, 
disciple of S. Peter. He was succeeded by S. Adevitus, and 
both these first bishops are thought to have died as martyrs. 
The immediate predecessor of S. Liberius was S. Datus, 
who died in 185, when Liberius was elected in his room. 
There were afterwards two other bishops of Ravenna of the 
same name, Liberius II., who died in 351, and Liberius 
III., who sat between 374 and 379. All three are regarded 
as saints, and it is not easy to decide which receives vene- 
ration on the days on which the name of Liberius of Ravenna 
occurs in the Kalendars. But probably Liberius I. is com- 
memorated on December 30, and either Liberius 11. or 
Liberius III. on April 29. 

' Unknown to history, not in any trustworthy lists of the bishops of Milan. 

Dec. 30.] '5''5l Sabinus and Others. 405 


(about A.D. 303.) 

[Roman Martyrology and most Western Kalendars. Usuardus, Bede, 
Ado, &c. Authority : — The Acts in Surius, not trustworthy.] 

Sabinus, bishop of Assisi, was arrested at Assisi by 
Venustianus, governor of Tuscany, and was cast into prison 
along with his deacons, Marcellus and Exuperantius. Venus- 
tianus produced a little statue of Jupiter which he kept in 
his bedroom, and which was habited in a gilded mantle, 
and required Sabinus to venerate it. The bishop took 
the image in his hands, flung it on the pavement, and 
broke it. 

Venustianus was highly incensed, and ordered the hands of 
Sabinus to be cut oflf, and Marcellus and Exuperantius to be 
hung on the Little Horse before the eyes of their bishop, 
fire to be placed under them, and their sides to be torn 
with hooks and scrapers. 

The deacons died imder torment. Sabinus was then led 
back to prison. A fisherman-priest ^ took the bodies of the 
martyrs, and buried them on the third of the kalends of 
January (December 30). Then Serena, a Christian widow, 
who had the care of Bishop Sabinus in prison, led to him 
her son Priscianus, who was blind. The martyr raised his 
lopped arms towards the dark eyes, and scales fell from 
them, and Priscianus saw plainly. Then those who were 
the fellow prisoners of the saint cast themselves at his feet, 
and besought baptism. Nine or ten were regenerated in 
the prison. 

What had taken place was reported to Venustianus, who 
himself suffered from inflamed eyes, which prevented him 

* " Quidam piscator et presbyter." 

4o6 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 30. 

from enjoying either food or sleep. He sent his wife to 
the prison to bring Sabinus to his house. And when 
Sabinus arrived, Venustianus and his wife and two sons pros- 
trated themselves at his feet, and besought baptism, which 
Venustianus had now learned was good for sore eyes. On 
his issuing from the font his eyes were miraculously healed. 

When the emperor Maximian heard that the prefect of 
Tuscany believed in Christ, he sent his tribune Lucius to 
execute Venustianus, Sabinus, and the wife and sons of the 
governor. When all were executed at Assisi, Serena took 
their bodies to Spoleto, and there buried them, on Dec. 7. 
But she put the hands of the bishop in a glass bottle with 
aromatic herbs. 

Relics at Spoleto and Faenza; but as there are many 
saints of the name of Sabinus, some of those scattered about 
Italy may be incorrectly attributed to the martyr of Assisi. 

(a.d. 304.) 

[Roman Martyrology, introduced from the Greek Menseas and Me- 
nologies by Baronius. Authority : — The Greek Acts by Metaphrastes, 
in Latin in Surius. These have suffered from the mischievous rewriting 
by Metaphrastes, who has introduced long prayers and exhortations.] 

Anysia was a maiden of Thessalonica, bom of noble 
parents, brought up in the nurture and the admonition of 
the Lord. When her parents died, she was left with great 
wealth, a large house, and a crowd of slaves, male and 
female. She desired earnestly to be- admitted to the full 
delights of Paradise, attained to only through stripes and 
celibacy.* She accordingly sold her goods, and distributed 

^ "Custodia et flagella in Christi nuptialem thalamum introducunt. . . 
Orabat, Domine Jesu Christ^, praesta ne excludar thalamo.*' — Acta ap. Surium. 

Dec. 30.] 

S. Anysius. 407 

the proceeds to the poor. One day, as she was going out 
of a gate of Thessalonica, a heathen, struck by her beauty, 
addressed her in tones of insolent familiarity. The modest 
girl in terror crossed herself. He saw at once that she was 
a Christian, and, drawing his sword, ran it into her side. She 
sank and bled to death on the spot. 

The church of Thessalonica raised an oratory over the 
place of the martyrdom directly peace was established. 
There is no reason to doubt that the main facts of this mar- 
tyrdom are true. No doubt Anysius, bishop of Thessa- 
lonica, received his baptismal name from the circumstance 
of her martyrdom being fresh in men's memory when he 
was bom. 


(about A.D. 410.) 

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menaeas. Dec. 30 seems the day 
of the election of S. Anysius. Authorities : — The Epistles of Pope 
Damasus and S. Ambrose.] 

In 383 S. Paulinus of Nola went with S. Epiphanius to 
Thessalonica, where S. Anascholius had just died. The 
bishops of Macedonia and the clergy of Thessalonica wrote 
to S. Ambrose thereupon, and stated that they had elected 
Anysius, the disciple of the deceased prelate, to fill his 
room. S. Ambrose replied, eulogizing Anascholius, and 
felicitating Anysius on his elevation, exhorting him to 
follow the example of his predecessor. Pope Damasus also 
wrote to Anysius to recommend him to see after the well- 
being of the Church in Eastern Illyria. When Paulinus and 
Epiphanius came to Thessalonica they were received by the 
new bishop. Anysius had the sad fortune to rule the Church 
of Thessalonica when the horrible massacre was carried out 

4o8 Lives of the Saints. ^^, ^, 

there in 389 by orders of the Emperor Theodosius. Botheric, 
who commanded the imperial troops in Illyria, and resided 
at Thessalonica, threw into prison a charioteer of the circus, 
who had been guilty of an attempt to commit an abominable 
crime. A great festival was coming on, and the people 
wanted the charioteer to drive in the circus, and begged 
that he might be set at liberty. Botheric refused, where- 
upon a riot of the people ensued, in which he and several 
of his officers were killed by the mob with stones and 

Theodosius was furious when he heard* of the murder, 
and sent prompt orders that the people of Thessalonica 
should be assembled in the circus, and that 7,000 persons 
should be killed to atone for the riot. Rufinus, Master of 
the Offices, is said to have goaded Theodosius to this act of 
barbarity. When the circus was full, suddenly soldiers 
closed all passages of egress, and fell on the mob, and 
killed till they had made up the tale of 7,000. Some spe- 
cially sad instances are mentioned as occurring. A mer- 
chant, who had taken his sons to see the sight, implored 
the soldiers to spare his children. They replied that they 
must make up the tale, and could only spare one. As the 
disconsolate father looked from one boy to the other, 
unable to resolve which to sacrifice, the impatient soldiers 
cut both down. A slave is said to have generously redeemed 
his master by offering his own breast to the sword. Several 
strangers who did not belong to Thessalonica were involved 
in the massacre. 

In 391 a council at Capua had considered the errors of 
Bonosus, bishop of Sardica, who denied the perpetual virginity 
of B.V. Mary, and said that she was the mother of James 
and others. He also had disputed the divinity of our 
Lord. The council of Capua requested the bishops of 
Macedonia, with Anysius of Thessalonica at their head, to 

Dec. 30.] B. . Margaret. 409 

consult on the heresy of Bonosus, and condemn him. The 
Macedonian bishops wished to refer the case to the Italian 
bishops ; but the latter replied that, as the council of Capua 
had appointed the Macedonians as judges, they must sub- 
mit to the order of the council. Anysius and the other 
bishops of Macedonia accordingly met and suspended 

In 404 S. Anysius and fifteen bishops of the party of S. 
John Chrysostom wrote to Pope Innocent on the desolation 
in which lay the Church of Constantinople, whilst its chief 
pastor was languishing in exile at Cucusus, and referred the 
matter in dispute, which had caused his banishment, to the 
judgment of Innocent. Nothing further is heard of S. 



(a.d. 1284.) 

[Beatified by Pius IX. in 1847 5 ^^^^ inserted in the Martyrology on 
Dec. 30.] 

The Blessed Margaret was bom a scion 01 the illustrious 
and princely house of Colonna at Rome. She was left an 
orphan when a child, and was brought up by her brothers, 
who wanted to get her married when quite young, and so 
rid themselves of their responsibility for her. But one of 
them, James, who was studying at Bologna, and was destined 
for the Church, opposed the others, and inspired in the 
mind of the young girl an ardent desire to embrace the life of 
celibacy. She escaped from her brothers' house, and having 
cut off her long hair, took refuge in the house of the Poor 
Clares, near Rome. She undertook the nursing of the sick, 
and having overcome her natural repugnance to the sight of 
their sores and the disagreeable nature of the unaccustomed 

4IO Lives of the Saints. [d«.3o. 

work to which she had devoted herself, passed through her 
profession, but was not admitted to take the veil on account 
of her being sickly. She accompanied her brother James, 
now a cardinal, on a visit of piety to the tombs of the 
Apostles. She suffered from a tumour during seven years, 
and died, whilst still young, in 1284. 

Dec. 31.] 

S. Columba. 411 

December 31, 

SS. DoNATus, Paulinus, and Others, MM. at Rome. 

S. Columba, V.M, at Sens; a.d. 274. 

S. Sabinian, B» of Sens ; circ. a.d. 300. 

S. Sylvester, Pope of Rome; a.d. 335. 

S. Barbatianus, p. at Ravenna; sthcent. 

S. Melania the Younger, Mat. at Jerusalem; a.d. 439. 

S. Marius, B. o/Avenckes in Switzerland; circ. a.d. 593. 

S. Leobart, Ab. o/Saveme in Elsass; a.d. 607. 

B. Warembbrt, Ab.qf Mont-Saint-Martiny near Cantbrai ; a.d. 

S. John Francis Regis, S.y. at Louvesc in Dauphini; a.d. 

1640 {see June 16).* 

(a.d. 274.). 

[Roman and Galilean Martyrologies. Usuardus, Ado, &c. Au- 
thority : — The Acts, late and untrustworthy.] 

|, COLUMBA, a native of Spain, of royal family 
still heathen, illumined by Divine grace, left her 
home at the age of sixteen, and came into Gaul 
along with S. Beatus, S. Sanctianus, and S. Augus- 
tine. She was baptized at Vienne, where a baptistery is 
shown in the church of the nunnery of S. Benedict, called 
after her, and where she is supposed to have received the 
sacrament of regeneration. It is much more probable that 
the baptistery had its dedication to the Holy Ghost in the 
form of a dove. 

In the year 274 Aurelian was in Gaul and at Sens. He 
ordered the execution of S. Columba and her companions. 

* He died on Dec. 31, but his commemoration was moved by Clement XI. to May 
24, and by Clement XII. to June x6. 

4^2 L ives of the Saints. pec sr . 

The church of S. Columba the Less in Sens is said to 
occupy the site of her prison. But previous to the exe- 
cution Columba was sent to the amphitheatre, and lodged 
in one of the cells near where the wild beasts were confined- 
Aurelian offered a young man of his court to abandon the 
virgin to his passions. But when the youth approached 
Columba, a bear came upon him, and began to hug him 
with an ardour which threatened to break in his ribs. The 
young man struggled, and the virgin bade the bear let go. 
Bruin obeyed with a sulky growl, and retired; and the 
ravisher thought it best to follow the example of the bear, 
and disappear likewise. 

Aurelian then ordered soldiers to enter the dungeon and 
draw Columba forth. The bear, however, threatened them 
with his paws, and they contented themselves with an 
attempt to smoke him out. A shower came on and extin- 
guished the flames. The bear was allowed to depart, and 
Columba surrendered herself to the officers, who conducted 
her before Aurelian, and at his command her head was 
struck off" outside the city, on the side of the road which 
now leads to Meauxj where afterwards was reared the 
abbey of S. Columba, which served as the asylum of Becket 
whilst in exile at Sens. 

The relics of S. Columba are still shown in the cathedral 
of Sens. 


(A.D. 335.) 

[Roman Martyrology and all Latin Martyrologies and Kalendars. 
Authority : — Anastasius Bibliothecarius.] 

Sylvester was the son of a certain Rufinus, a Roman. 
He succeeded Melchiades in the chair of S. Peter, 314. 

Dec.3x.] S.Sylvester. 413 

His election took place on the 31st of January. When 
Maxentius held Rome, Sylvester, not then Pope, had retired 
for safety, or was driven, to Mount Soracte, and remained 
there in concealment till Constantine defeated the tjrant at 
Saxa Rubra, and Maxentius was drowned in attempting to 
escape into Rome across the Milvian bridge (a.d. 312). 
After the battle Sylvester returned to Rome, and two years 
later succeeded Melchiades. Constantine is said to have 
offered him a golden diadem set with jewels, but Sylvester 
refused it, and wore instead a white Phrygian cap or mitre. 

At the exhortation of Sylvester, Constantine built a 
church near the Baths of Diocletian, and endowed it with a 
farm. Sylvester issued several constitutions for the Church 
of Rome. He ordered that chrism should be consecrated 
by bishops only, but that priests might administer confirma- 
tion with it in emergency, as in that of approaching death. A 
deacon was to wear a dalmatic when serving at the altar, 
and his left shoulder should be covered with a linen napkin.^ 
A priest in celebrating was not to use silk or coloured cloth, 
but linen, and that white, because the Lord's body was laid 
in white linen.* 

Constantine built the Lateran church and adorned the 
pediment with a silver figure of Christ enthroned, with the 
twelve apostles bearing silver crowns. He also placed in the 
apse a figure of the Saviour, of silver, five feet high, and four 
silver angels with " golden crowns and dolphins." He set up 
a fountain of porphyry and silver near this basilica, on a 
porphyry pillar stood a golden lamb, from which spouted the 
water, and in the middle of the fountain was a phial con- 
taining balsam to be used for the lamps at night on the 

* " Constituit ut Diaconi dalmatica uterentur in Ecclesia, et palllo linostimo laeva 
eorum tegerentur." — Anast. in S. Silvest. 

* Not apparently the vestments of the priest, but the napkins and corporals for the 

414 L ives of the Saints. ^^^ 3,. 

Paschal festival. On one side of the lamb stood a statue of 
the Saviour, of silver ; on the other, one of the Baptist, bear- 
ing a scroll on which was engraved, " Behold the Lamb of 
God, that taketh away the sins of the world." There were 
also four silver stags which spouted water. Sylvester and 
Constantine are the subjects of a forgery which was pro- 
ductive of important results. In 728 Pope Gregory II. 
made an attempt to form a confederation of States in Italy 
which was to maintain itself against the Greek empire and 
the Lombard kingdom. And, according to his scheme, 
the papal chair was to be the head and centre of this con- 
federation. The plan came to nothing. In Rome, however, 
the idea ripened more and more, that the power of the Pope 
might come forward in Italy and take the place of the 
decaying power of the Greeks and the reluctantly tolerated 
power of the Lombards. Accordingly between 752 and 
777 a document was forged purporting to be a donation 
made by Constantine, containing the following grants : — 

1. Constantine desires to promote the chair of Peter over 
the empire and its seat on earth, by bestowing on it impe- 
rial power and honour. 

2. The chair of Peter shall have supreme authority over 
the patriarchal chairs of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, 
and Constantinople, and over all Churches in the world. 

3. It shall be judge in all that concerns the service of 
God and the Christian faith. 

4. Instead of the diadem which the emperor wished to 
place on the Pope's head, but which the Pope refused, Con- 
stantine gives him and his successors the phrygium (J.e, the 
tiara) and the lorum which adorned the emperors* neck, as 
well as the other gorgeous robes and insignia of the imperial 

. dignity. 

5. The Roman clergy shall enjoy the high privileges of 
the imperial senate, be eligible to the dignity of patrician or 

Dec. 3x.] ^- Sylvester. 4 1 5 

consul, and have right to wear the decoration worn by the 
optimates or nobles in office under the empire. 

6. The offices of cubicularii, ostiarii, and excubitores shall 
belong to the Roman Church. 

7. The Roman clergy shall ride on horses decked with 
white coverings, and, like the senate, wear white sandals. 

8. If a member of the senate shall wish to take orders, 
and the Pope consents, no one shall hinder him. 

9. Constantine gives up the remaining sovereignty over 
Rome, the provinces, cities, and towns of the whole of Italy 
or^ of the Western regions, to Pope Sylvester and his suc- 

Pope Leo IX. recounted nearly the whole text of the 
donation to the patriarch Michael Cerularius in 1054, openly 
and confidently, without, apparently, the shadow of a suspi- 
cion that the document was forged. 

He wished the patriarch to convince himself "of the 
earthly and heavenly imperial power, the royal priesthood, 
of the Roman chair," and to retain no suspicion " that this 
chair * wished to usurp power by the help of foolish and old 
wives' fables. * " On the strength of this document Urban II. 
claimed Corsica in 1091. On it also Hadrian IV. rested 
his claim to give Ireland to Henry II. in 1155.^ 

A story was fabricated, or grew up, to account for the 
donation. According to this tale, Constantine was afflicted 
with leprosy, and Sylvester baptized him in a porphyry 
basin. In gratitude for the cure which was the result of 
the baptism, Constantine made the donation. In a mosaic 
on the frieze of the Lateran basilica the scene of the baptism 
of Constantine by the Pope is represented. In reality, the 
emperor was baptized on his deathbed at Nicomedia, by 

* Later the " aut," or^ was changed into " et," and; for purposes which may be 

3 For a full account of the forged donation, see Dr. Ddllinger's " Fables of the 
Popes in the Middle Ages.'* 

4 1 6 Lives of the Saints. ,;Dec. 31 . 

the Arian Eusebius, bishop of that city. The Roman 
Martyrology and Breviary, however, still assert that " S. Syl- 
vester baptized Constantine." 

When the council of Nicaea met, Sylvester was very old, 
and unable to attend, and he sent in his place the two 
priests, who, according to the arrangement laid down by the 
emperor, would have accompanied him had he been able to 
make the journey. In this simple deputation later writers 
have seen the first germ of " legati a latere." 

In order to supplement history and give Sylvester a more 
prominent place in the decision of the Arian controversy, a 
fable was invented, according to which, on the return of 
Victor and Vincent, the two priests who represented Sylves- 
ter at Nicaea, the aged pontiff summoned a council of 277 
bishops, in which Sylvester reviewed the decrees of Nicaea, 
and formally ratified them. There was probably a synod in 
his reign in which the regulations were passed already men- 
tioned, relative to the dress of deacons and the altar linen. 
But the story of a council of Western bishops held after 
Nicaea is a fable.^ 

Constantine is credited with the murder of his son Cris- 
pus, his wife Fausta, and his nephew Licinius. He, ho 
doubt, felt great agony of remorse for his crimes, and his 
last visit to Rome, and the foundation of the churches there, 
already recorded, with their costly adornments, were pro- 
bably the fruits of his penitence. According to one legend, 
Hosius of Cordova comforted the conscience-tortured 
monarch with promises of forgiveness in the Church. Ac- 
cording to a story told by Sozomen, Constantine applied to 
a philosopher named Sosipater, who told him that there was 
no place of repentance for those guilty of such crimes. He 

* Guerin and Giry assert it as history ! but then they also give at length the story 
of Constantine's leprosy and baptism by Sylvester, with only a faint qualification, 
and an attack on Eusebius, to discredit the statement of the historian, so as to sub- 
stantiate the fable. 

Dec. 31.] S. Melania the Younger, 417 

then applied to " some bishops, who told him that he "would 
be cleansed from sin on repentance and the reception of 
baptism." But Sozomen rejects this story as " the invention 
of persons who desired to vilify the Christian religion." 
But it is easy to see how from this germ grew the legend of 
Constantine covered with leprosy (sin), seeking first cleans- 
ing in heathen rites and a bath of infants' blood, and then 
turning to Christianity and finding cleansing in baptism. 
When the forgery of the Donation was well established, this 
fable naturally attached itself to it, and the baptizer became 

S. Sylvester is represented trampling on a dragon,^ the 
symbol of the paganism which received its death-stroke from 
Constantine in his reign. 

(about a.d. 439.) 

[Roman Martyrology, introduced from the Greek Menoea. Authori- 
ties : — A Life by Metaphrastes ; and one in the " Lives of the Fathers of 
the Desert.'* She is mentioned also by S. Paulinus of Nola and S. 

Melania, daughter of a consul, mother of a praetor, be- 
longed to the illustrious family of Marcellinus, of Spanish 
origin. She was related to S. Paulinus of Nola, and was 
second to none in Aquitaine and Spain for wealth and nobi- 
lity. She was born at Rome in 342 or 343, about two 
years after the consulate of Marcellinus, whose grand- 
daughter she was. 

Melania was married to a man in high office, whose name 

* Metaphrastes gives a long story of Sylvester withstanding in argument a Jew 
named Zambres, and of his raising a dead bull to life, at sight of which miracle S. 
Helena asked for baptism. 

^ ** Parce qu'il en fit mourir un k Rome, qui en corrompait Tair et causait la mort 
k beaucoup de monde par I'infection de son haleine." — Guerin et Giry. 


4 1 8 Lives of the Saints. ^^^ 3,. 

is, however, not recorded ; and she bore him three children. 
He died and left her a widow when she was only twenty- 
three. She lost two of her children, and there remained to 
her only a son, Publicola. She then placed her child with 
guardians, and started on a pilgrimage to the East with Rufi- 
nus, priest of Aquileja. She arrived in Alexandria in 372, 
the last year of the life of S. Athanasius. She saw the great 
bishop of Alexandria, and received from his hands a relic 
of the Thebaid, a sheepskin which he had received from the 
holy abbot Macarius. She also met the priest Isidore the 
Hospitaller, who had attended S. Athanasius to Rome dur- 
ing the consulate of her grandfather, Marcellinus. She also 
visited the virgin. Alexandra. This maiden was a slave girl, 
who, fearing her own beauty, and in pity for the poor soul 
of him who loved her, had buried herself alive in an empty 
tomb, and remained ten years without permitting any one to 
see her face. 

Isidore had been brought up among the solitaries of 
Nitria, and as he spoke of their virtues to Melania, she re- 
solved to visit the desert where they dwelt, and there she 
saw and conversed with S. Pambo and other illustrious an- 

On the death of S. Athanasius, the Arians, protected by 
the emperor Valens, persecuted the Catholics in Egypt. 
Many bishops, priests, and hermits were banished. Melania 
used her fortune to relieve their necessities. This S. Paulinus 
relates in a letter to Sulpicius Severus. He says that she fed 
during three days 5,000 solitaries who were in concealment, 
at great risk to herself. Melania followed 126 exiled bishops 
and hermits to Diocsesarea in Palestine, and supported them 
from her private fortune. As the guards were forbidden to 
allow their friends to visit them, Melania disguised herself as 
a slave, and carried them every evening their food. She was 
arrested by the governor, and put in prison. 

Dec 31.] "S*. Melania the Younger. 419 

She sent the consular magistrate this message: ''I am the 
daughter of a consul. I have been the wife of a man illus- 
trious in his generation ; now I am the servant of Christ. 
Despise me not because of my mean dress, for I can attain 
a higher rank if I will ; and I have sufficient credit to keep 
me from fearing you, and to hinder you from touching my 
goods. But lest you should do wrong by ignorance, I have 
thought fit to let you know who I am." And she added, 
" We must make head against fools, setting our pride against 
their insolence, as we loose a hound or a falcon against the 

When the magistrate heard who she was, and to what 
a powerful and wealthy family she belonged, he precipitately 
threw open the prison doors, showed her the most pro- 
found respect, and gave her full liberty to visit the exiles. 

She founded a monastery at Jerusalem, in which she placed 
fifty virgins. For twenty-five years she devoted to the relief 
of the poor, and the entertainment of the bishops, monks, 
and pilgrims of every description, who came in swarms to 
the holy places, her own services, and the revenues drawn 
from her lands in Spain and Aquitaine, wrung from the hard- 
working labourers. She was guided and seconded by 
Rufinus, who inhabited a cell on the Mount of Olives, and 
who was at that period the old and tender friend of 
S. Jerome. A dispute afterwards took place between Rufi- 
nus and Jerome, as related in the life of the latter, oc- 
casioned by the doctrines of Origen. Their rupture long 
agitated the Church, and drew from them melancholy invec- 
tives against each other. Melania naturally sided with her 
guide Rufinus, and for having countenanced Origenist errors, 
has been excluded from the Martyrology of the Latin Church 
and the Menseas of the East. She is called Melania the 

In the meantime her son Publicola had grown up, and 

420 Lives of the Saints. [d^c. 31. 

married Albina, daughter of Albinus and sister of Volusia- 
nus, prsefect of Rome, whose family was one of the most 
illustrious in the empire. 

From this marriage issued S. Melania the Younger. She 
was bom about 382, and was brought up fr«m infancy with 
the example of her grandmother held up to her as deserving 
of imitation. At the age of fourteen she was married to 
Pinianus, son of Severus, praefect of Italy and Africa; her 
husband was only seventeen. She became the mother of a 
daughter, whom she dedicated from her cradle to virginity. 
She had no taste for, or a religious prejudice against, conju- 
gal union, and she besought her husband to let them separate. 
He refused till Melania was being confined a second time, 
when, in his alarm for her hfe, he vowed to yield. She gave 
birth to a child, which was baptized, and died immediately 
after. Her daughter also did not survive infancy. Accord- 
ingly, so soon as Melania was well, in 401, when she was aged 
twenty, and he twenty-four, it was arranged between them 
that they should separate. When Melania the Elder heard 
in Palestine of the determination of her granddaughter, 
nothing could exceed her enthusiasm and gratification. 
Although aged sixty, she at once started for Rome to en- 
courage her granddaughter in her resolution, and by her pre- 
sence prevent a foolish or sinful weakness froiti overcoming 
Melania, and drawing her back to the arms of the husband 
whom she had sworn to love and cherish so long as life 
should last. Albina, mother of the young Melania, dis- 
approved of her conduct, but Melania the Elder was able to 
overcome this disapproval, and convert it into approval, and 
persuade her also to desert her husband, and join her in the 
exercises of the religious, as opposed to the family, life. 

The brother of Pinianus, and his father Severus, were 
naturally incensed ; and finding that Melania, without protest 
from her husband, was, as they thought, squandering his 

Dec. 31.] *^' Melanta the Younger. 42 1 

fortune on beggars and hermits, they seized on his estates 
and administered them for him. But Melania complained to 
the empress, her relative, and by her influence Honorius 
relieved Melania and her husband from all inconvenience 
from the relations of the latter. They sold their estates in 
Rome, Italy, Aquitaine, Spain, and Britain, and the result of 
this sale produced such a sum that it was thought that none 
but the emperor possessed more. The father and brother of 
Pinianus beheld this dispersion of the family estates with 
mingled emotions of rage and contempt ; but they were un- 
able to oppose the emperor, who had sanctioned it. The 
only estates not disposed of were some in Campania, Sicil)', 
and Africa, which belonged to Melania herself, and of which 
she could not dispose till her father's death. 

The money obtained by the sales was spent in founding 
monasteries, feeding the idle and the indigent, and adorning 
churches with vessels of gold and silver. She emancipated 
her slaves, but many of them would not receive their free- 
dom, and passed to the service of her brother Publicola. 
She sent messengers to Egypt, Antioch, and Jerusalem laden 
with money for the use of hermits and ifionks. The two 
Melanias and Albina, who now lived together almost in- 
separably, often visited S. Paulinus of Nola, their kinsman, 
and received from him warm encouragement. 

Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis in Bithynia, like Rufinus, 
the panegyrist of the desert dwellers, came to Rome in 404 
or 405, and remained there till the beginning of 406, and was 
received by the three ladies with much honour and affection. 
" When we were in Rome,'* he says, " they received us \\'ith 
every demonstration of respect, and made us the best cheer, 
rendering themselves worthy, by their hospitality and their 
holy manner of life, of participating in the eternal life of our 
Lord Jesus Christ." 

Publicola, father of the younger Melania and son of the 

VOL. XIT. E E 2 

422 Lives of the Saints. p^^^,. 31. 

elder of that name, would not allow his daughter and mother 
and wife to leave Rome, and give themselves up to all 
the extravagant asceticism of their highly enthusiastic de- 
sires. But on his death, in 407, Albina and Melania the 
Younger were free. The elder Melania was then in Africa, 
visiting and consoling the hermits in the desert. The younger 
Melania and Albina went to S. Paulinus for his advice, and 
Pinianus was consigned to cabbage-gardening with thirty 

Pinianus offered for sale his palace in Rome, but it was 
so splendid that no one could bid for it a worthy price till 
after 410, when Rome had been entered by the Goths, or the 
palace had been fired and plundered, by which its value was 
reduced. But before Alaric came to Rome at the head of his 
Goths, Melania, Albina, and Pinianus had taken refuge in 
Sicily with their treasures. Melania the Elder went on to 
Jerusalem, and there died, forty days after her arrival. 
Melania the Younger, drawing in her train her mother and 
husband, now left Sicily for Africa, that she might refresh her 
soul by a contemplation of the ascetic lives of the anchorites 
of the desert, of whom she had fieard so much, and in the 
hope that their example would inspire Pinianus with ambition 
to settle in the wastes of Scete or Nitria among them, and 
disembarrass her of his somewhat burdensome society. 

On their way they landed at Malta, and found the in- 
habitants suffering from a visit of barbarians, who threatened 
to pillage them and burn their houses unless they paid a heavy 
ransom. Melania and her husband gave large alms to the 
bishop, and he paid it to the Vandal freebooters, who there- 
upon left the island without further molestation. 

Thence Melania and her party went to Africa and visited 
Tagaste, where Alypius, the friend of S. Augustine, was bishop. 
They gave costly ornaments to his church, and endowed and 
built two monasteries there : one for eighty monks, the other 

Dec 31] "^^ Melania the Younger, 423 

for 130 virgins. They were unable to see S. Augustine at 
Tagaste, for he was at Hippo ; they therefore visited him in 
his see, and gave liberal presents to the poor and to the 
Church. Pinianus was fearful of being chosen by the people 
to be priest at Hippo, for the sake of his wealth, and he ex- 
tracted from S. Augustine a promise that he would not 
ordain him. 

One day the people began to clamour for Pinianus as their 
priest, S. Augustine then told them of the promise he had 
made. The crowd thereupon broke into abuse of S. Alypius, 
who, they thought, wanted the wealthy man as priest for one 
of his churches ; and they would not be pacified till Pinianus 
swore solemnly that he would be ordained priest nowhere 
else but at Hippo. 

Albina, who had remained behind at Tagaste, on hearing 
what had taken place wrote a letter full of feminine scolding 
to S. Augustine : " As for the people of Hippo," she said, " all 
they wanted was a man of fortune who could throw away 
money among them." Augustine wrote to pacify her and to 
give a better colour to the motives of his people. After 
seven years stay at Tagaste and Hippo, Melania carried her 
mother and husband with her to the Holy Land, a.d. 417, 
visiting S. Cyril on the way, at Alexandria. 

In Palestine they met Pelagius, and were thrown into some 
doubt as to the soundness of his doctrines. They wrote to 
S. Augustine about them, and he sent to them in reply his 
two books on " The Grace of Jesus Christ " and on " Original 
Sin," which he addressed to them in 418. 

From Palestine Melania took her husband into Egypt to 
visit the solitaries of Nitria, but they returned before 419 ; 
for S. Jerome in writing to S. Augustine in that year, saluted 
him on their part and that of Albina, whose age had pre- 
vented her accompanying Melania and Pinianus to Egypt. 
Whilst Melania was absent, S. Jerome prepared for her a 

424 Lives of the Saints. [Dec. 31. 

cell on the Mount of Olives, and on her return she shut 
herself up in it, and saw no one but her mother, her hus- 
band, and a cousin, who were allowed to visit her once every 
five days. 

Melania passed fourteen years in this cell, and only left 
it to pay her last duties to her mother, who died in 432. 
Then she went into another cell, but left it after a year, to 
place herself with a community of virgins in a convent she 
built to receive them. 

Pinianus died about the end of the year 435. 

The brother of Albina was Volusianus, who was a heathen ; 
indeed the conduct of his sister and his niece had probably 
seemed so foolish and offensive in his eyes, that he had 
been hardened in his disgust at Christianity. But Volu- 
sianus may have seen that the days of the old religion of 
Rome were ended past revival, and that it was in vain to 
hope for its restoration. He therefore bowed to the inevit- 
able, and prepared to give in his submission to the religion 
of the emperors. He sent for Melania, and she hastened to 
Constantinople, and found him prostrated by an accident. 
She had the satisfaction of seeing him baptized before he 

She returned full of joy in the winter to Jerusalem. She 
then built another monastery, and the Empress Eudoxia 
visited Jerusalem whilst it was being built. Eudoxia put Her 
ankle out of joint on that visit ; Melania replaced it with skilly 
and, as the empress said with Oriental courtesy and exaggera- 
tion, without really hurting her at all. 

Four years after the death of her husband, Melania made 
a visit to Bethlehem at Christmas, and then hastened to 
Jerusalem. She caught a chill whilst praying in the church 
of S. Stephen, and died on the last day of the year, appa- 
rently that following the year 439, in which Eudoxia came to 

Dec. 31.] 

kS. Marius. 425 


(about A.D. 693.) 
[Gallican Mart)Tology. Authority : — Acts of 2nd Council of Macon.] 

Marius, bishop of Aventiacum, an old Roman city in 
Switzerland, now represented by Avenches, assisted with S. 
Palladius of Saintes, S. Praetextatus of Rouen, S. Evantius 
of Vienne, arid other illustrious prelates of his age in the 
second council of Micon in 585. S. Marius is the author of 
a continuation of the Chronicle of Prosper from the year 455, 
at which that of Prosper closes, to the year 581. It contains 
chiefly events which occurred in Burgundy, and in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Lake of Geneva.